Parvathamalai Trek

Parvathamalai is located at a distance of 45Km from Tiruvannamalai. It is a popular religious site that houses several temples, including the Maligarjuna Shiva temple at the summit. Therefore, the place attracts lot of devotees and even Siddhars (Perfected individuals who has attained spiritual powers). But recently, it has turned into a popular trekking spot for youngsters. Looking for a trek in Tamil Nadu? Then follow along to more about this place. 


Basic Information


Altitude: 1390m (4560 ft)

Location: Tiruvannamalai District

State/Country: Tamil Nadu / India

Base Village: Thenmathimangalam (45KM From Tiruvannamalai)

Total Distance: 6 KM (One way)

Time Taken: 3 Hour (Climb)

Difficulty Level: Easy-Moderate



Best Time To Trek


You can trek Parvathamalai at any time of the year. However, the summer is exceptionally hot in Tamil Nadu. So, try to avoid peak summer unless you are planning to do a night trek. Monsoon can also cause some problem as the trail may turn slippery. The best time to trek here would therefore be from September (post Monsoon) to March (Spring). 

Things to Carry


This is a half-day trek but the climb is arduous. You will need to carry a lot of water. There is no need to carry food, as Veerabadra temple which is located at the base offers 24/7 free food to all devotees. Normally, Ganji (Porridge) and Sambhar-Rice is what you get here. 

Carry a backpack to put in your water bottle(s) and some dry food items for the journey. A good cap or some sunscreen lotion would be good to beat the harsh sun rays. Though most devotees trek barefoot, you are allowed to wear footwear all the way till the summit. A good trekking shoe would definitely come of help, though not necessary.


How to Reach Parvathamalai?

To reach Parvathamalai, you have to first reach the village of Kadaladi or Kanji. The nearest town is Tiruvannamalai. Private and Government buses ply between the town and Parvathamalai. The first bus leaves Tiruvannamalai bus station at around 5:45AM. There are several buses during the day. Just ask the officials in the bus station and they will guide you. The buses are often parked near the exit point of the bus station. 


The buses drop you off at the main road, near the Parvathamalai entrance, just before Thenmathimangalam village. You can inform the conductor or driver to help you or just check the google maps for location to get-off. From here, take a 2 KM ride on a shared auto rickshaw for about Rs20/25. If you do not find co-passangers, you can negotiate with the driver to drop you at the base for around Rs100. There are phone numbers of auto rickshaw drivers written on the bus stand walls. You can call them, if you do not find one readily available. 

You can also choose to walk. It is pleasurable and passes through mango grooves, villages and paddy fields. It is not a tiring walk and can be done easily. 


If you have a vehicle of your own, then you can ride up to the base of the hill which has enough parking spot for both bikes and cars. 



Facilities Available 


According to me, most of the trekking and travel destinations in Tamil Nadu are well connected by road and they are equipped with basic facilities. For example, most of the forts have guards and most locations have some form of connectivity through public transport. Parvathamalai is no different. 


You have a public toilet and bathroom facility at the base of Parvathamalai. You may have to pay a nominal fee (Rs20-30) to use them. There is ample parking space for both two-wheelers and cars. There are four to five stalls that sell food and water. 


Phone numbers of Auto rickshaw drivers are written on the walls of the bus stand. If you do not find any when you descend, you can call them for a ride till the main road. 

Free food is served 24/7 at Veerbadra Temple at the base. In case you want to spend the night on top of the mountain, then you can sleep inside the temple or the Mounayogi Vidobanadha Ashram next to it. You will have to carry your sleeping bag or blanket. The ashram also offers dinner for devotees who spend the night there. There are temple and ashram incharge staying there. Also, the devotees keep coming all night, so this place is safe. 


The Trail


There are two routes to the Parvathamalai peak. You can trek via Kadaladi village. This route is tough but adventurous. The most popular route though is via Thenmathimangalam village. Below are the details on this trail. 

Stretch 1 – (1.5 KM) The first stretch involves a concrete path that begins at Hanuman temple, by the gate and leads you till the Veerabadra temple. The walk is easy and the terrain is flat. 


Stretch 2 – (2 KM) The second stretch is a flight of stairs that pass through a dense forest. I find stairs difficult than natural trails along a hill. Therefore, it can be tiring. 


Stretch 3 – (1.5 KM) The stairs end at a distance and you are now left with a trail that continues your route through the thick forest. This stretch has some steep climbs. At the end of this stretch, great views of the surrounding hills await you. 


Stretch 4 – (1 KM) At the end of the previous stretch, you find yourself in front of a big boulder. Form here, the trek gets interesting. You will have to climb a few ladders attached to the rock. There are chains and posts fixed to the boulder. Climb the final set of stairs to reach the temple at the summit. 



Other Places to Visit


If you have not been to Tiruvannamalai (45KM from Parvathamalai) yet, then you must include it in your itinerary. Apart from the famous Arulmigu Arunchaleshwara temple, there are many other temples along the Girivalam circuit (A circuit around the Arunachala hill). You must also visit the Ramana Maharishi Ashram, Skanda Ashram and Virpaksha cave. 


Gingee (35KM from Tiruvannamalai) is another popular destination near by. There are two popular forts here – Rajagiri and Krishnagiri. Rajagiri is a slightly longer trek with varied terrain. Krishnagiri fort can be reached by a flight of stairs and is visible from the main road. 


You can also visit the Sathanur dam (50KM From Parvathamalai). 

My Experience


I have visited Parvathamalai twice so far. During one visit I spent the night on the top. 

I often visit Tiruvannamalai and during each visit, I try to explore a new location around the town. I took an early morning bus (5:45AM) from Tiruvannamalai bus station and reached the drop point by 7:00AM. The locals were kind enough to guide me. At the main road, I tagged along with a few other trekkers/devotees and shared an auto rickshaw ride till the base of the hill. I had some Dosas for breakfast before beginning my trek at around 7:30AM. One of the most interesting parts of this trek was my interaction with several youngsters along the way. 

I accompanied a group of boys till the main shrine where they performed some rituals and offered their prayers. The food served at Veerabadra temple is basic but tasty. Overall, the experience was spectacular. 

However, I do want to mention that despite all the arrangements the Government does in developing such sites, it is also important to focus on cleanliness. Littering is a big problem along the Parvathamalai trail. The entire hill is filled with plastic bottles and covers. It is disheartening to see that such a beautiful place is being ruined by some irresponsible tourists. 

During my second visit, I decided to reach the place by 2PM. I took a 1PM bus from Tiruvannamalai. I walked to the base of the hill and then climbed to the top by 5:30PM. I got a beautiful view of the sunset from the top. I spent the night at Mounayogi Vidobanadha Ashram. Apart from me there were 5 other people. The ashram incharge offered us pongal at dinner time. There is one main hall and you have to lie down on the floor. I had carried my sleeping bag. All through the night, devotees kept coming and by morning the place was packed. I woke up early next morning to watch the sunrise. Unfortunately the sun was hiding behind the clouds. The view was spectacular nevertheless. I reached the base by around 10AM. I had breakfast a the Veerbadra temple and then freshened up at the public toilet/bathroom (Rs20) and took a bus back to Tiruvannamalai. 


My Films on Parvathamalai Trek


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