31 October 2006


This cave is not far from Virupaksha Cave and is also situated in a spot that has a perennial spring with good water.

The Ashram was developed by Kandaswami who undertook to build the main part of what has become Skandashramam. In front of a natural cave two small rooms have been built lengthwise. There is also a terrace in front of the Ashram with coconut palms and foliage and a breathtaking panoramic view of Arunachaleswarar Temple and Tiruvannamalai.

Bhagavan remained in this Ashram with his devotees until his mother Alagammal died on 19th May, 1922 and it was at the end of that year that Sri Ramana permanently made his home at the bottom of the Hill in what is now Ramanashram. It is believed that Sri Ramana's mother actually attained samadhi at her death in 1922 and Bhagavan himself confirmed that two devotees, namely Mother Alagammal and Lakshmi the Cow did in fact attain samadhi at their death.

Skandashram is maintained by Ramana Ashram and is open throughout the daytimes for visits and meditation. The Ashram can be reached by a beautiful scenic pathway originating from the back of Ramana Ashram and winding its way gently up the slope of Arunachala to Skandashram. The Ashram can also be reached by going up a pathway starting opposite the West Gopuram of the Big Temple.

The construction of Skandashram would not be allowed nowadays because it entailed vigorous quarrying of stone from the face of Arunachala itself. Now that the area has been deemed Reserve Forest it is in fact becoming increasingly difficult for sadhus to spend time in caves on the Hill, (other than caves in a specific area on the southeast slope above Arunachaleswarar Temple).

Narayana Swami (Hill Swami), who lived on the summit of Arunachala for 16 years permanently descended the Hill because of reasons of ill health; however had it not been for that reason, without a doubt he and his entourage would have had to vacate their colony on the top of Arunachala sooner or later.

Regarding Sri Ramana Maharshi and his own experience at Skandashram, I herein quote an extract from a book entitled 'Thiruvanamalai; The Power and glory of The Mountain Path' by A.D.M. Panneerselvam:

"Here follows yet another proof to show that the Mountain itself is Lingam. No one can dare to carry on quarrying on the Hill for its (granite) stones. And Annamalaiyar proclaimed it to the world through an incident.

Once the devotees of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi cut a stone slab from the hill and honoured their guru by seating him on it. And Ramana, the saint of the first order, had to suffer from cancer. It was a sport of Lord Siva."

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