[I hope to be soon posting additional information of this Hill and also uploading photographs of Parvathamalai taken from Arunachala]
Parvathamalai is located near Thenmadimangalam Village, 20 kms from Polur. It is part of Javadhi Hills and accessible through Kadaladi village 25 kms north of Tiruvannamalai or through Thenmadimangalam. Parvatham means mountain and Parvatha Malai as it is called, connotes “Hill of Hills” or “Queen of Hills”. Parvathamalai presents eight different shapes from eight directions around the hill.
At the summit of the Hill is the Mouna Guruswamy Ashram and more importantly a very powerful Temple at which resides the Siva aspect in the form of Lord Mallikarjuna (i.e. White Jasmine) and the Sakthi aspect in the form of Parvatha Rani or Parvathammal. Parvathammal is also called Lordess Brahmarambika (and Maragathambika). Inside the sanctum sanctorum there are also idols dedicated to Sri Ganesha and Lord Murugan.
|Parvathamalai, Temple and Ashram on top|
A Temple at this site is believed to have existed for the last 2000 years although it is not known exactly when the current Temple was constructed at the top of Parvathamalai. However a record (Malai Padu Kadaam) shows that King Maa Mannan who was ruling that area, during the year 300 A.D used to visit a Temple (at this site) frequently and worship Lord Shiva and the Goddess. It is said that 2000 years ago great yogis (Siddhas) constructed a Temple at the top of the hill for doing meditation.
Reaching the top of Parvathamalai is an arduous task. It is a vertical mountain over 4,000 feet in height that has iron rod steps, track steps, ladder steps, and sky steps (agayapadi) not found at other such sacred mountains. The Kadapaarai Padhai section of the climb up the Hill is considered to be the toughest part of the trek. This part which is punctuated by iron rods drilled into the rocks and chains to assist during the sharp ascent is also only wide enough to accommodate one-way traffic. Thus one has to raise one’s voice voice from the bottom of this section and wait for acknowledgment from the other end before starting to climb the Kadapaarai Padhai section.
One of the legends associated with Parvathamalai states that when Lord Hanuman carried Sanjeevini hill to revive Laxman a piece of Sanjeevenimalai fell at this spot. For this reason this particular area is famous for various herbs and shrubs which can cure the deadliest diseases. It is not just herbs that can cure disease but it is thought that the breeze alone from the Hill wafting through the plants and shrubbery is enough to help cure illnesses.
|Kadapaarai Padhai section of climb|
There is a legend at Parvathamalai associated with the two saints Guru Namasivayam and Guhai Namasivayam—who were to later reside on caves on Arunachala Hill. However when Guru Namasivayam and Guhai Namasivayam stayed on Parvathamalai, they accidentally cooked and ate an unknown herbal leaf (known as ‘Karunochi – Siddha Medicine’) and regained their youth forever.
Another legend associated with this sacred site recounts that when Lord Siva returned from the Himalayas to South India, He stepped on Parvathamalai on His way to Arunachala.
The history of Parvathamalai is interconnected with that of the famed Sri Mallikarjunar Temple at Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh. The encompassing legend goes so:
“Sage Siladha performed severe penance on Lord Shiva seeking a boon to have children. Two sons were born to him, Nandhi and Parvathan. Sanakadhi Rishi called on the sage and said that Nandhi would live on earth only for a short while. As a result of this prophecy Siladha fell into grief. Nandhi assured his father by saying that he would win over death by his penance on Lord Shiva.
|Temple at Parvathamalai|
Pleased with Nandhi’s penance, Lord Shiva appeared and made the young child His vahana (vehicle) and passed the order that devotees should come to Him only after being allowed by Nandhi. Nandhi’s place of penance at the foot of the hills at Sri Mallikarjunar Temple at Srisailam is also known as “Nandiyal”. His brother Parvathan also performed penance on Lord Siva and became the hill – Parvatha Hill – i.e. Parvathamalai”.
This sacred place as it is under 30 kms from Arunachala is also infused with Arunachala’s radiating spiritual power. Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchipuram saw the hill in the shape of a Siva Lingam. Increasingly as the fame of Parvathamalai spreads, many devotees and pilgrims visit and climb the hill to worship at the Temple on the summit in order that they may attain bliss and enlightenment. One of the unique features of the Temple on Parvathamalai is that all may enter the inner shrine (sanctum sanctorum) in order to perform their own puja to Lord Shiva, His Goddess, Sri Ganesha and Lord Murugan. The busiest times at Parvathamalai are the days of full moon, no moon and new moon.
It is reputed that there are Siddhars who have made this Hill their home and who keep their presence a secret only choosing to reveal themselves to few devotees of the Divine. It is believed that these Siddhars visit the Temple on the top of Parvathamalai at midnight to worship the presiding deities there. Though no one can or have seen them in physical bodies, Villagers around ‘Parvathamalai’ down below say that they can clearly hear the sound of ringing bells, blowing conch and beating drums exactly at midnight when pujas are performed by siddhars. Devas and spiritual beings from other lokas are also believed to worship on the Hill every night.
"Siddhars have spoken volumes about Pancha Nathana Nataraja. They say that this deity is such a rarity in the Universe that even the Devas would give anything just for the chance of worshipping him. They say that on the Nataraja Abisheka days which occur in certain Tamil months (Chitra, Aani, Aavani, Purattaasi, Margazhi and Maasi), the Devas perform their worship to this deity in subtle form. This kind of worship is similar to the sookshma worship done by the Devas at the peak of the Arunachala Hill and on the Parvathamalai Hill."
It is reported by visitors that at night many paranormal activities occur on Parvathamalai. That it is possible to experience both Jyoti Darsanam at night and also to imbibe an almost other-worldly intoxicating scent of flowers. The Goddess idol at the Temple has a dazzling smile and Divine light can often be seen on her face and cheeks. When the devotee walks away from Goddess Brahmarambika in the sanctum sanctorum, the size of the deity instead of diminishing, appears to increase in size and it seems as if the Goddess steps forward and approaches the devotee.
|View from Parvathamalai of Javadhi Hills|
This place is filled with stories of miracles witnessed in one form or another. Devotees often report seeing images of both the snake and trishulam when lighting camphor in front of Lord Shiva. Some devotees have seen a nine foot King Cobra visiting the Sanctum Sanctorum for the worship and others have sight of three eagles circling the top of Parvathamalai.
|View of Arunachala from summit of Parvathamalai|
For information and photographs about ascending Parvathamalai go to this link here