Parvathamalai 20 kms from Polur and 30 kms from Tiruvannamalai, is part of the Javadi Hills and accessible through Kadaladi village or Thenmadhimangalam. 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. Parvathamalai’s close proximity to Tiruvannamalai ensures that it is infused with Arunachala’s radiating spiritual power.
The Sage of Kanchi (Kanchipuram) the great Sri Shankaracharya Chandrashekarendra Saraswati twice undertook pilgrimages of the Indian peninsula on foot from Benares in the North to Rameshwaram in the South. On one of those pilgrimages (written about in Paul Brunton’s book, ‘In Search of Secret India’) he visited Parvathamalai after his time at Arunachala. On seeing Parvathamalai he declared that it is in actual fact a Siva Lingam and proceeded to walk the 25 kms circumference base of the Hill. From that time the fame of Parvathamalai girivalam has spread.
|Arunachala (centre back) from Parvathamalai Summit|
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 the 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.
Below is a meditative video compiled of sequential photographs of Parvathamalai Girivalam. The 25 km walk starts at Thenmadhimangalam where the main highways converge—the Hill is ever to the right and the video finishes at the starting point.
To find out more about Parvathamalai, visit this link here.