18 October 2014

Parvathamalai Hill and Temple

[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. 

Lord Mallikarjuna

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." 

Sri Brahmaraambika

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 


Unknown said...

Absolutely fascinating account of this mysterious hill. I would love to try and trek up this hill, although it certainly sounds challenging. How was your experience climbing up the hill? Thanks again for sharing :)

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Once the weather clears up I will post photos of Parvathamalai as seen from Tiruvannamalai. I have an amazing darshan of both this Hill and Arunachala from my house and the snaps will be very good once we are back with clear skies.

If you are planning to trek up the hill, do please check the link I supplied on the posting. There are very good photos of the route and excellent tips and information about the climb up.

Think it would be a fascinating experience to climb up and spend the night on the top with friends -- which is becoming an increasingly popular thing to do.

More information soon.

Unknown said...

Night time at the hilltop sounds like a very cool idea! Do let me know if you ever hear of any groups making a trip there. Hesitant to go alone.

Meenakshi Ammal said...

There are a number of Trekking groups from Chennai and other spots in South India that visit Parvathamalai regularly. You can get information about them by googling Parvathamalai Treks.

Agree it is probably smarter to go up with someone.

Anonymous said...

Amazing information and photographs. Looking forward to more news about this little talked about mountain.

Unknown said...

We went paravathamalai on 24/01/2015- We felt the same miracle wrote In this blog.Very trilling place.we climed the hill at night and had nice experiance. Pray god with true faith and love and you prayers will be fullfilled.Love to visit again.

Anonymous said...

Parvathamail Hill is beginning to get very famous. Now at full moon many devotees go there to perform the 24 km girivalam round the bottom of the Hill. Which is a very unspoilt, peaceful, beautiful walk.

Unknown said...

om siva
friends paravadhamalai is one of the hidden mystery in tn all history which u read above is true becoz still all happeneing there night yome flower smell lots of devotees come and go with hope of lord shiva give happiness in theri life . parvadha... has 4560ft climbling mostly night with fogs and mist its nt a trecking place to see the lord siva people make them asign wt ever happene we should reach the top by iton ladder verticall climbling which is the most amazing magic by lord shiva becuse its almost like cliif hanging guys no light no current no suppoters devotees are the owners of paravadhmalai visit soon and get happiness in the life

Unknown said...

hidden mystery in TN sidhars says lord shiva visit the paravadhamalai when full moon no moon paravadhamalai is place of secrets of god and sidhars. vertical climbling in the iron ladder is the amazing climbling with out any light anything when each climb hill lord shiva stands behind them

Anonymous said...

I have visited this temple thrice . It was really thrilling experience. First time we climbed in the night and was not aware of the height and vertical iron ladder due to poor light. Almost there were 3 people standing in each ladder step due to heavy crowd. I realised that while climbing down in the morning . Its really miracle that no accident happened. Also it is soul fulfilling to see the god so close and you can touch and perform the pooja. I haven't seen this in any other place in Tamil Nadu .

3rd time i went during no moon time. it was pitch black and less number of people were there . Was scared but lord bhairava guided in the form of dog , there was one in front of me and two behind me and guided me till i reached the top.

Love to go again.

Regards ,

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Parvathamalai is beginning to get increasingly popular with visiting pilgrims. Also pilgrims are visiting Parvathamalai for full moon girivalam. Even though the girivalam is around 24 kms compared to the 14 hillround of Arunachala.

People people that the dogs that frequent the area are emissaries of Lord Bhairava to guide pilgrims and devotees and safe them from harm.

Hope you are able to visit Parvathamalai more frequently. From my house I can see Parvathamalai in the distance . . . and it does indeed look like the side view of Nandi.

Unknown said...

Is there people's on no moon day ? Can I trek hill on no moon day ? Give me some clear cut information. About no moon day . Is people's trek hill or not .

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Below specific information about Parvathamalai girivalam:

"The sacred place of Parvathamalai is under 30 kms from Arunachala and infused with Arunachala’s radiating spiritual power. The Sage of Kanchi (Kanchipuram) the great Sri Sankaracharya Chandrashekarendra Saraswati twice undertook pilgrimages on foot from Rameshwaram in the far south of the Indian peninsula to Benares in the North. On one of those pilgrimages (written about in Paul Brunton’s “In Search of Secret India” book) he visited Parvathamalai Hill after his time at Arunachala. When he saw Parvathamalai he declared that it was in actual fact itself a Siva Lingam and proceeded to walk the 25 kms circumference of the Hill. From that time the fame of girivalam at Parvathamalai (in modern times) has spread.

“On the first of Margazhi month in 1944, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal fondly known as Maha Periyava performed Girivalam of Parvathamalai which is located in the Thiruvannamalai-Chengam Road. His Holiness started on foot from his camp at Kadaladi accompanied by the devotees and went round the mountain through jungles and hills and reached the camp back late in the night.”

Consequently each year on the first day of the Tamil month of Margazhi, a special girivalam has been organised (including food) since 2009 by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. On this day many thousands of devotees arrive and perform a ‘special girivalam’ of Parvathamalai.

Nowadays 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. Others following the example of Shankaracharya prefer not to walk on the Hill itself but instead choose to perform the 25 km (approximately 8 hours to complete) girivalam around its base. The busiest times at Parvathamalai are the days of full moon, no moon and new moon."

To read the full posting go to an earlier link here:

Unknown said...

Thank you, usefull information
Kumar dsmv

Anonymous said...

Very tough trekking always trek during night hours
Once u reach the top it's awesome
So try it go ahead and don't trek during sunny days

Unknown said...

Hi all Siva om

This Is my first trip. Very excited

Thanks & regards
Varagur. Sriram

sathish said...

Hello all. Kindly tell the time I can visit to this temple. In full moon day night is best or day time

Meenakshi Ammal said...

The walk to the top of Parvathamalai is very difficult and you should walk up or down only in the daytime. The walk to the top of Parvathamalai is MUCH more difficult than the walk to the top of Arunachala. There is an ashram at the top of Parvathamalai that allows devotees to spend the night . . . some choose to do this and then climb down early the next morning.

If you want to be in that area in the evening, you could perform girivalam around Parvathamalai . . . it is 24 kms long and the roadway is unspoilt and goes through very beautiful countryside. Girivalam around Parvathamalai is a very beautiful spiritual experience especially on the night of the full moon.

Unknown said...

I visited parvathamalai last janu 2016. really nice and beautiful experience . parvathamalai also called THENKAILAYAM . SO we should visit must , OM NAMA SHIVAYA WITH REGARDS KARTHIK

kishore said...

I have been there thrice... Blindly believe in u and trek...no matter whether its daytime or night time... Bhairavar guides you... You will be astonished by the vibrations you get when you perform pooja for mallikarjunar... Please go barefoot... Dont wear chappals..be sincere in what you do.. You will experience that once in a life time thing...

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Thanks Kishore for your inspirational comment. As you have experience of climbing to the top of the hill, its good that you are sharing your experience with people interested in learning more about going climbing Parvathamalai.

I am too old and chubby to climb to the top of the hill . . . but am interested in walking around. Have you performed girivalam of the 25km hillround yet?

kishore said...

I have not done the girivalam yet... Mam... You can certainly climb...slowly... Resting at good intervals... My friend climbed wit a fractured leg. He after starting to climb for 20mins said that he wont be able to continue... But we insisted...and there is a siddhar temple half way and he prayed for the will... And surprisingly no breaks after that point... We directly reached the top and rested... Even he was amazed...

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Appreciate your enthusiasm and support. I had a real struggle getting up Arunachala . . . and that was years back. Maybe I will start off with girivalam of Parvathamalai and see what proceeds from there.

Anonymous said...

How much time it takes from bottom to top. ? What minimum things to carry ?

Unknown said...

Plz carry water bottles and lite snacks

kishore said...

This time my fourth time decided to go @night.we had the prasadham which is served at the starting point temple. Started to climb @ 2000 hrs. It was pitch dark. It quite was cold . After climbing about 100 steps four of us we all stopped all of a sudden as we all felt a vibrating heat wave passing by us. Something devotional and possitive it was. It was pitch dark and the torch jus lightens your footsteps...very powerfull... I will keep going there.

Meenakshi Ammal said...

Sounds like you had a beautiful spiritual experience. Have read that some devotees who spend the night on the top of Parvathamalai are said to see wondrous sights and hear divine music. Very powerful Hill.

Santosh said...

I started my journey alone hearing from someone at Arunachalam. I reached parvatamalai at 5pm and I know nothing about route or language. I ate at temple below and started with a water bottle and torch at 6pm. That's it. Two old people helped me climbing. They said to off the torch and travel in moonlight. Every one was getting down and telling it will take your full energy and hours. I was traveling in pitch dark. Old people telling about the hill safety in Tamil which I don't know. They showed the route from half way. I reached the top at 9:30 and ate some rice at Mouna swamy ashram. Their service is awesome. I slept at temple that night and worshipped lord shiva.itd an awesome experience. I went with fear and doubts. I came down next day morning with divine and blessings of God. A �� dog followed me through the hill while climbing. Monekys will grab it food in day that. Don't carry too much. I went with just a torch and water bottle and biscuit packet. God will take care of you. It's an awesome experience. I can't express my happiness after visiting this temple.

Meenakshi Ammal said...

So glad you had such a wonderful experience. I have heard that spending the night on the top of the Hill is amazing. Expect you will be visiting Parvathamalai again soon. Do you know that you can perform girivalam around the Hill . . . it is 25 kms and very unspoilt. Several ancient temple ruins on the hill round.

Unknown said...

It is also believed that lord bhairava in means of dogs helps us lead to the top of the hill till the kadapaarai steps. It is good to visit la paruvadha malai in full moon day at the night time