Near to Tiruvannamalai are villages like Kanchi and Kadaladi which are
covered with thick jungle forest. Even in the daytime it was hard to
reach such places, as the forest had wild animals roaming around. Next
to the villages are large mountains, on one such hilltop named
Parvathamalai, is a Temple dedicated to Siva (Lord Mallikarjuna) and
Shakti (Sri Brahmarambika).
People perform Tiruvannamalai girivalam during the full moon day,
similarly at Parvathamalai, on the first day of the Tamil month
Margazhi, village people from surrounding areas go for Parvathamalai
girivalam. Paramacharya also performs girivalam when he goes to
Parvathamalai. It is approximately 25 kms distance around the hill. All
who walk with the Acharya struggle to complete the arduous walk, but the
Acharya goes around the hill in a normal, fast way without struggle or
On one occasion, during that particular day on the Tamil month of
Margazhi, many went to Parvathamalai on the eve of the appointed
girivalam. Nearly two lakhs people were expected to gather and start
girivalam at 3 a.m. Acharya had decided to also start girivalam at the
The Ashram people accompanying the Acharya, had their dinner and fell
asleep. Around midnight one of the ashramites woke and roused the
others. He reported that the Acharya appeared in his dream saying, "you
people are young, and will complete pradakshina even though you are
hungry, but the villagers, what will they do for food? Some have to
carry children in their arms, others will not have had proper food for
days, some will be old. So you should do something to ensure all are
Others from the group of ashramites reported that they also had the same
dream. Another told that in his dream, the Acharya asked, "why can't
sweets be cooked and good food given to all?" The group was fully awake
and after discussing the dream, decided that free food with sweets had
to be given to all villagers who performed girivalam.
The cook reported that there was insufficient rice to feed such a large
number of people. During their discussion, suddenly in the middle of the
night, a bullock cart drove up to the front of the camp. The driver on
seeing everyone was up, remarked he was surprised that they were not
asleep. He explained that he was driving from a nearby village on his
way to Kanchipuram to see the Acharya and to deliver food to that Ashram
that had been donated by local villagers. On setting off, the bullock
cart driver learnt the Acharya was situated at a camp near
Parvathamalai - thus, he came to deliver the food supplies that had been
donated to Kanchipuram Mutt.
The food donation comprised 30 bags of rice, sugar, dhal and other
items. The man gave all food supplies to the camp, and asked the Acharya
be informed of his delivery. He then departed to his own
The ashramites believed this coincidence to be evidence of the Acharya's
blessings. Feeling happy and satisfied, the cooks of the group started
their preparations; making good, nutritious food and a delicious sweet.
All were busy engaged in cooking. Around 3 a.m. the Acharya came to the
kitchen and commented, "30 bags of rice will be sufficient to serve
all - and not a single person will be left out." He said this with a smile
and then left to go on his Parvathamalai girivalam.
The ashramites were surprised because no-one had informed the Acharya
about the donation of 30 bags of rice and other foods. Just as the
Acharya had foretold, when the food was cooked and supplied to all who
had come on girivalam - it was discovered that there was sufficient to
allow for all to partake of the prasad."
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
Roadways converge at path to Hill
Many arrive at Parvathamalai Hill by bus or car via Highway 133 or
Highway 38. The convergence of these two major roads at
Thenmadhimangalam, is also the start place of the main pathway to the
top of the Hill. In addition its the most popular place to start
clockwise circumambulation of the 25 km pathway around the base of
Girivalam of Parvathamalai
Thenmadhimangalam and start of girivalam
Before starting the 25 km girivalam of Parvathamalai Hill, some choose
to go through the gateway arch on the Thenmadhimangalam Route, and visit
the Shrines situated at the base of the Hill.
Muniswarans at Pachaimman Temple
Temple, Parvathamalai background
Sri Veerabathirar Temple
Vana Durga Temple
Vana Durga Temple Trident
Occasionally the girivalam roadway joins up with the tarmac highway, but
mostly the walk is on minor roads and dusty country tracks winding
their way through reserve forest and agricultural areas. The below
photographs are sequential showing landscapes and places of interest on
the girivalam roadway.
The 25 km girivalam is mostly unpopulated so take plenty of water and
either wear shoes or carry a pair for emergencies in your bag. The area
in which you will be walking is for the most part deserted, ensure your
security by walking with others and not carrying valuables.
Road above goes to Swami Mouna Vithoba Ashram about a 15 minute walk from this point
Swami Mouna Vithoba lived on the top of Parvathamalai for 16 years
attending to his sadhana and also helping to maintain the beautiful
Temple of Lord Mallikarajuna Iswara located on the Hill's summit. After
completion of these 16 years on the summit, the saint came to the bottom
of Parvathamalai Hill and performed intensive sadhana for 4-5 years
engaged in puja and worship of the murti of Goddess Sri Rajarajeshwari.
Swami Mouna Vithoba
This saint deceased sometime during 2001-2002 but the work at the top of the Hill continues in his name.
In this respect a renovation Trust named 'Triplicane Sri Paruvathamalai Adiyargal Thiruppani Sangam' has been set up to:
(1) continue improving walkways to top of Parvathamalai,
(2) develop and maintain Lord Mallikarajuna Iswara Temple on summit,
(3) complete construction of Mouna Guruswamy Ashram on summit and,
(4) continue managing Mouna Guruswamy Ashram at foot of Hill.
Ashram at base of Hill
When Swami Mouna Vithoba passed away (at his place) at the bottom of the
Hill, an ashram slowly developed and on January 29, 2012 a grand
Kumbhabhishekam function was performed at the samadhi of Mouna Vithoba
Swami at what is now an Ashram dedicated to him at the foot of
Samadhi of Swami Vithoba
Food and accommodation is available at the Mouna Guruswamy Ashram at the
bottom of Parvathamalai. To make enquiries please call the person in
attendance at that place Sri Ramesh at +919843417989. Much of the
girivalam road is inaccessible to all vehicles except two-wheelers
however if coming from Thenmadhimangalam, one may drive all the way to
½ km after ashram
One can continue on the girivalam pathway or start on a path which
eventually leads to the top of Parvathamalai. The next three photographs
below show the beginning of the pathway to the summit, starting a short
distance from Swami Mouna Vithoba Ashram.
1. Direction Board showing way to summit
2. Beginning the hike to summit
3. Pathway leads to rocks and upwards to Summit
On continuing on this route climbing the hill, the Kaladi pathway meets
up with the Thenmadhimangalam route and both continue to the Summit of
The above photographs numbered 1, 2 and 3 show the beginning of the
roadway after the Ashram to the summit of the Hill. The rest of the
below photographs show the pathway after the Ashram, which continues
onwards on the 25 km girivalam road.
Most of the girivalam road is deserted save for the occasional house and
farm. There are also three main structures of interest to pilgrims. The
first is the Vithoba Ashram, the second is the Pachaiamman Temple and
the third is the ancient Siva Temple.
Ancient Pachaiamman Temple currently under renovation
The Goddess in temporary structure whilst Her Shrine is being renovated
Devotees on grounds of Temple
Muniswarans at Pachaimman Temple
The Sapta Muniswarans here are represented as 7 brothers. The warrior guardians are:
Muniswarans are a class of powerful spirits. These spirits are also
known as Siva Ganas. They are considered to be servants of Siva and his
female-half Shakti. Due to their nature, the Munis are classified as
They can be former warriors, kings or sages who achieved the status of a
Muniswaran after their human death. Some of the Muniswarans worshipped
were created as Muniswarans and are not of human origin. Muniswarans are
worshipped in various ways including tree and stone worship. At this
Temple they are worshipped in the form of Statues (Uruvam Vallipadu)
According to the Rig Veda, Muniswarans are trained in various magic arts and believed to be capable of supernatural feats.
After stopping at Pachaiamman Temple, the 25km girivalam pathway continues through the countryside.
Highway 133 turns right on to small lanes
For a while the pathway merges with Highway 133 but now continues winding its way through small roadways and country lanes.
Towards the end of the girivalam walk, one arrives at an ancient Siva
Temple. The Temple which has Shrines to the Lord and the Goddess is now
not in use and puja to the Gods is maintained in a small room near the
Original Siva and Shakti Shrines
The statues are kept in this building.
Veelanthangi Iswara Alayam - Devotees staying place
A few yards from the building housing the statues, is the residence for
the Temple priest - which is also a staying place for devotees.
After completion of the 25 km girivalam roadway, the pilgrim returns to the start place of Thenmadhimangalam.
Thenmadhimangalam - also the beginning spot for easiest route to Parvathamalai summit