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Thiruvannamalai Adventure begins

Annamalaiyar temple towers

28.10.2014 ( Day 22 )

Thiruvannamalai is famous for its temple, holy mountain, Ashram of Ramana Maharshi and lots more.  The main agenda for the day was to go around the holy mountain and after that scale the holy mountain. It was an ambitious plan considering the distance around the mountain and height of the mountain. The walk around the mountain itself is around 15km. But anyway we, my two travel companions and I decide to do it.

The mood of the mountain looked promising. Wasn’t raining too.

Great day to explore the mountain
Great day to explore the mountain

In this place the Holy hill itself is the Deity . People worship the mountain itself as Deity. So people circumambulate the mountain. The circumambulation path is 14 kilometers!

There were actually two paths, one is inner path and the other is the outer path. The inner path is through the forest with raw uneven forest trails, while the outer path is the well maintained highway, the tarred road.

We were adventurous and wanted to try the forest road which unfortunately was closed by the authorities. Upon enquiring about the reason for closing down the inner path, some one told it was because of the forest fire caused by some random traveler sometime ago. Other one told it was because they spotted some wild animal in the forest. Some other told it was because of excessive littering done by the tourists. Anyway the forest department didn’t allow to walk around the mountain through the inner path, and if found breaking the rule they might charge a heavy fine. Two of us wanted to break the rule and pursue the adventure, but the third one wasn’t interested!

After confusion and persuasion we decided to check out the forest path.  We found some path cut out on the rocks and followed it.

The path and the follower
The path and the follower

Surprisingly we had company. There were more people breaking the law! We were not the only ‘adrenalin junkies’!! 😛

But soon we realized that it wasn’t the law forbidden forest path. This path was leading to the top of the mountain. Oh, time for plan B.

That is the beauty of not having a plan. Wherever you reach, you can call it your destination!

So we decided to follow the path and go to the top of the mountain. On the sides of the path there were a few people trying to sell stone, marble and granite artefacts.

Marble Art
Marble Art

And on other side there were monkeys which are notorious for grabbing any food items even from your backpack!

If you are feeling generous take food items with you
If you are feeling generous take food items with you, if you are lucky you can eat it 😉

And we walked toward the top.

There comes my partners in crime.

Travel companions, partners in crime
Travel companions, partners in crime

We reached our first view-point. The view from here itself was good!

First view point
First view point

The clouds, the mountain range in the distance, the nearby town, the reflection, it was a beautiful view.

Even the path ahead was so beautiful with shades and greenery.

oh path, lead me forward
oh path, lead me forward

And the path did lead me forward to the next view point. And it was..

Bird's eye view of the holy town
Bird’s eye view of the holy town

The Annamalaiyar temple towers, up close and personal for you.

Annamalaiyar temple towers
Annamalaiyar temple towers

And the town

The Holy Town
The Holy Town

We spent quite a long time at this point. But still we had quite a long way to cover before it is too hot.

We were heading towards two ashrams. Before talking about the ashrams, we need to know about Sri Ramana Maharshi. (I just realized that ashram has become an English word!!)

Ramana Maharshi widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding spiritual gurus of modern times who believed in the Advaita Vedanta.    Read More on Wikipedia..

Sri Ramana Maharshi stayed at various places in Tiruvannamalai and then in several caves on the Arunachala Hill  until he finally settled at what came to be called Sri Ramanasramam where he lived until his Mahanirvana in April 1950.

Sri Ramana Maharshi started to live in different caves on the slopes of Arunachala, the holy mountain. The cave where Ramana  stayed longest (17 years),Virupaksha Cave, is on the south-east slope.

After that Sri Ramana maharshi moved from Virupaksha to Skandasramam, a little higher up the Hill. [Read more: Source ]

First we reached the Skandasram through the path that started from Sri Ramana ashram, which was our starting point.

Being Badass :P
Being Badass 😛


Skanda Ashram
Skanda Ashram

Photography was not allowed inside and I didn’t click anything from inside. We spend some time here feeling the peace and vibration of the place and headed towards Virupaksha cave.

The steps from Skanda ashram towards the cave
The steps from Skanda ashram towards the cave
Way to Virupaksha cave
Way to Virupaksha cave

I wondered how someone could live in such tiny spaces for years! We could only spend some time there and then we headed towards the peak of the mountain.

To get much better views..

Another view from higher up
Another view from higher up

But Sun started working its magic and my partners in crime were not interested in getting cooked in solar energy!

Some guy returning from top
Some guy returning from top

So we spent some more time at the view point before we came back. On return journey we took another route. And we ended up some place with lots of garbage. As it was a holy trail we decided to do the walk without footwear. But this part wasn’t very holy I guess.

After passing through some narrow streets and local houses at last we ended up reaching the town near the temple. We decided to rent bicycles. Even though it is a holy, spiritual  and peaceful place, the people were more interested in materialistic things like getting more money out of the tourists, selling things at higher price etc! So we thought bicycles could save us from the highway robbery of auto rickshaws aka tuk tuks. Even the cycle rent was a bit over priced in comparison with our previous destination, Auroville. It was ₹50 per 6 hours for bicycle here while it was ₹40 for a  moped per day at Auroville.

Going green
Going green

We then went to the Annamalaiyar temple, the temple towers you saw in the bird’s eye view

In the temple, Photography and half trousers were not allowed! And both affected me badly! I am having a camera that count be hidden in any pockets and I was having a pocket on half trousers!

But luck did favor that time. Before coming here. we were looking for a laundry place and had a few clothes with us. So I ended up wearing a girl’s pants 😛 Out of all the male species in that temple that day, I had the flashiest long trousers 😛 The guards at the gate , both male and female ones who sent us away because of my half trousers were giving me ‘some’ different kind of smile upon my re-entry 😉 I was super self-conscious the whole evening! 😀

The massive Annamalaiyar temple towers
The massive Annamalaiyar temple towers

Anyway we could go inside the temple and enjoy its the majestic grandeur. And the colorful views both inside and outside. Again no pictures from inside.

The colorful outside view
The colorful outside view

After the super funny temple run episode we explored the town on our bicycles in search of our dinner and next day’s breakfast. It is always better to make/cook your own  food if possible rather than eating out. It will be economical and healthy.

We found out a local market somewhere far from the center of the town and spent ₹100 to buy some fruits and vegetables.

See what we made for our dinner.

Home made dinner during travels
Home made dinner during travels

This eventful day started with morning walk almost came to an end..

But you never know what can happen next!! So wait and see

Photographing the journeys to recreate the Travels to take you for a virtual Photo walk.

96 thoughts on “Thiruvannamalai Adventure begins

  1. 😀 why didn’t u post a pic with those pants on 😛 would’ve been amusing..I remember a temple in South India where they make every guy wear dhotis..and there are people to drape dhotis at the entrance of the temple..

  2. Hahahaa …what a re-‘entry’ …can beat any Govinda movie sequence 😛 😀 …Enjoyed every bit of your travelogue. Birds eye views are awesome… and loved the line “That is the beauty of not having a plan. Wherever you reach, you can call it your destination!” 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for ‘studying’ my post 😀
      haha.. glad to know that you laughed at my embarrassment 😛 and loved that line. Thanks again 🙂

  3. I have been reading your Travel Diary and should be done reading all your posts in a couple of days. You are so crazily adventurous, it’s so cool! 😀 You are showing me parts of India that I have never seen. Your journey is somehow very comforting. I should have a longer comment soon (ie in a couple of weeks :P).
    Btw, did you change something around on your website? Yesterday, I could choose the posts through a list on the left but today I have to search for them.

    1. Thank you so much for reading the stories, for your kind words and for long commenting 😀
      Oh, I removed that menu!! Looked a bit odd.
      I was looking for someone who can give me feedback on the navigation on my blog.
      I am constantly trying to organizing things. Anyway you can find the top menu ‘travel’ and find what you are looking for 🙂

  4. I love this place and this post. The photos of the temple and city are stunning. I would love to visit one day. India has so many options of incredible places to visit that we need years to cover the full list.
    You have helped by bringing us along with you during your journeys. Thanks. And not having a plan and wherever you arrive becoming the destination is an insightful quote. Appreciated a lot!
    And when are we seeing your pics with your friend’s trousers?

    1. Thank you so much Lucile for your encouraging comment. 🙂
      Yes, there are a lot of places in India too that will take years of dedicated travelling to be able to see them all.

      The not having plans quote was used ever since I started travelling and ended up somewhere else 😀

      And the trouser pictures 😛 Editor censored it, so you wont get to see it 😛

          1. Oh yes but I have been in a job for a brief time where I lived out of one suitcase for an entire year.. every belonging in one suitcase.. ah I loved it.. it was difficult at times.. Sadly had to leave that due to personal issues.

            If I could get a job which took me around the world.. (and pay rent back home) .. I would take it

  5. Auroville is one of my favourite place in India. Infact, I like going to pondicherry again n again. Been there 2-3 times. People r nice, french food is awesome. And The Matrimandir in Auroville is so serene. Most of the lampshades at my home are bought from Auroville.

    1. Wow.. that sounds amazing. I was in Auroville for 2 weeks. My recent trip was to Auroville and I loved that place. I’ve been writing about Auroville for over a month 😀

  6. Great adventure ! The food looks fresh and did you made green leafy sandwiches out of bread and veggies? The temple is grand. i liked the green rocky path. I have visited Annamalai temple in Delhi, the tower looks similar 🙂

          1. No, I wasn’t able to post anything due to bad/no network during that trip. That is why I am still catching up and doing the previous trip. The date is 29.10.14.

            I posted only 3 or 4 times in October. And I didn’t schedule anything

          2. Yea, and mobile internet isn’t very fast for picture posts!
            Well dates are at the beginning of the post. It is still the continuation of my travel diary 🙂

  7. Great writing of your adventure. Love these fabulous shots of this majestic mountain, the city, and temples! Fun reading of your travel episode, breaking the rule and pants… . 😀 Trails are so green and shady. Btw, I love Indian food, especially flat breads. 🙂
    Thank you for the links!

    1. Wow. you have really read each line of the long post!! Thank you so much 🙂 Haha.. the pants are still funny 😀
      You do love flat breads, is it roti, chapati?!

      1. It flows so well, I didn’t sense it was a long post. 🙂 I like both. I think Indian food is getting popular in US. When we were in Kona, Hawaii, there was one Indian restaurant, great food, and they were busy.

        1. Thank you for your kind words 🙂
          Well recently I read in one of the blogs about Dosa man in New York. i came to know that his Indian street food stall is very popular in NY

    1. That is cool. There are a lot of ashrams in North India too. If you are interested you can visit Auroville, Aurobindo Ashram as well. Looking forward to hear about your experience 🙂

  8. Thanks for the wonderful insight into your adventure! I am particularly fond of the perk of not having a plan being that wherever you arrive, that’s your destination! Perfectly put. Your photos have given me the itch for further travels of my own… Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much Tobias 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the photo walk. Yes, having no plans and travel slow are best things to do while travelling 😀 Hope you’ll travel more, soon 🙂

        1. It is very peaceful and great place to meditate. Well you haven’t reached at the top of the mountain yet! 😉 And lot of other stuffs.
          Also you missed a few parts 😉

  9. NIce views and awesome travel blog post. I literally had a good laugh at you wearing the flashiest long pants. You should have taken n uploaded a picture of that too. Your blogs are always a good read.

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