Sunday, January 3, 2016

Parvathamalai Solo trek (26 - 27.Dec.2015)

This was one such thing that flashes and you are on. This happened over my morning tea at 9 am, I was out with my bag and my camera in it at 10 am. Planning - no complaints coz I had none. Later regretted that I din plan. Still was an experience.

With minor repair work on the bike near Mel maruvathur in a Honda service center, reached Polur, the nearest town to Paravadhamalai.

Had my lunch there, inquired about the route and headed to Paravadhamalai. I had doubts climbing up with my joint pain which I decided not to give any attention. Parked my bike behind a temple where there was a paid parking lot. Started my walk from there.

There are 4 sections to cross before you reach the peak.
Paravadhamalai trek route - Board
Paravadhamalai trek route

1. Flat cemented path: 1.68 km
2. Cemented steps: 1.78 km
3. Rocks and pebbles: 0.75 km
4. Crowbar path (Kataparai padhai): 0.4 km
The first section was a good warm up and crossed comfortably. After this section was a temporary shed from where the materials for the temple construction is being sent. You can carry a small bag of sand (May be around 1 - 2 kg), a brick or any construction material as available there. I took a bag of sand and started from that point.

Paravadhamalai temple construction material dispatch
Paravadhamalai temple construction dispatch

The steps was not my cup of tea. Took long breaks, and had a nice nap on the way with the lunch settling in. Took all the time on earth to finish this part. My trusted google would show the way and say the ETA is 35 min. Google, come try this yourself. Are you sure you will do it in 35 min. Pffff..

I was happy when the steps was done. The rocks and pebbles was much more comfortable to walk on than the steps, mind was engaged in planning the next step, the ascend was manageable with planning the steps. On the way met a group of friends who were having their school reunion. All must be in their early to mid 40's. Was talking to them sharing my travel experience and my recent 2,300 km solo ride. This again was engaging and we did not take any break at all for a long time. They were a group of 6 friends. They were planning night halt on the peak. Cooking dinner was also in their plan. They extended their invitation and I was happy to join them.

As we crossed the rocks and pebbles path, we reached the much awaited and talked about Kadaparai paadhai (crowbar path, a literal meaning in English). I was amazed thinking how they had planned to root these crowbars, iron rods in to this large peace of rock and carve out sections to give grip to the leg. It all the more amazes me to think how people must have done the same path before they had these crowbars in place. Only a true devote or someone who understood what they are doing could have done it.

This path was the most interesting of all, looks tough but not as hard as you would imagine with all these luxuries people have done to make this easy.

This was a small stretch, and then were narrow staircase until the top.

Paravadhamalai temple silhouette
Paravadhamalai temple silhouette (Night photography)

The temple was almost empty when we went, I was happy that I made it. I had doubted if I can do it. But it was a moral boost that I had done this, one of my bucket list. The place was peaceful. Had a divine moment in the temple.

Paravadhamalai temple silhouette
Paravadhamalai temple silhouette

Then we were up for our next task. Cooking dinner. With experienced people taking charge, I resorted to pealing garlic and passing spoon and plates. All was done and we ended up with boiled rice and Kathirikai kaara kuzhambu. I almost tripled my average. With a cold gushing wind and piping hot food in hand, you can understand only if you had experience it.

Lighting the lamp

All went on well, next was to find a place to rest our back until morning. We went back to the temple, it was now filling up, not with people to see the temple, but for the same motive we came in. Now my bad planning kicked in. The temple had granite flooring (People have brought these Granite slabs as well). Had to sleep with nothing to separate me from the floor or to cover myself. My body heat would heat up the floor, would lay there in the same position, if I was to change position, would need to wait for the floor to match my body heat, before I can go back in to a deep sleep.

Morning we woke up at 4:30 am (Woken up actually :( ), then we had chukku kapi, clicked a few pics, went to the Ashramam.


Paravadhamalai - Nandhi figure

The place that serves food for all the people who climb up this place. They take donations and are continuing to serve free food to all. We skipped the breakfast offer, climbed down with  breaks in between and then came back home through Aarni, Arcot route.

All of this happened so quickly. I doubt if this would have happened if I had planned for it. It was spontaneous and I did what I felt at that moment that I need to do.

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