I woke up at 4:30 AM. Got ready and left the guest house at around 5 AM. At the main road, I boarded a bus and got off at Tiruvannamalai bus station. I enquired with the people around on a bus to Parvathamalai. They directed me to the exit of the bus station. There was a private bus waiting to be filled. 

The bus left Tiruvannamalai bus station at 5:45AM. The ticket fare to Parvathamalai (45KM) is only Rs15. I am always astonished by the cost of living in Tamilnadu. It is way cheaper than Karnataka. 

The bus was packed. If you do not find a direct bus, then you can take a bus to Kadaladi or Kanji and catch another to Parvathamalai from there. 


I was trying the check the route using google maps when a villager standing behind me saw it and told me that they would guide us. "These maps are of no use", he said. He told me that it was a tough trek and I should carry at least 5 litres of water with me. He also advised that I eat before reaching the base. “One plate of idli costs Rs50 there.”, He added. He also gave me his phone number and asked me to call him from the summit. 


The villager sitting next to me pointed at the boys in the first row and told that they were heading there too and I could follow them. 


The journey time is little more than an hour. When we approached Kadaladi, Parvathamalai was visible at a distance. It looked magnificent.


We were dropped off at the main road, just before Thenmathimangalam village. This is the entrance to Parvathamalai. To reach the base of the hill, you need to take an auto-ricksaw or walk 3.5km. There were 5 other young boys in the bus, so we boarded a shared auto and headed towards the hill. The driver charged us Rs20 per head. 


At the base of the hill, there are paid toilets, bathrooms and some stores that sell food and water. I walked to one of them and checked if they would serve me breakfast. An old lady told me that she could make me some Dosas. I agreed. The Dosas were very tasty. She kept serving me until I had to stop her. I bought some water too. At the store, I met Jegan. He had also travelled in the same bus. Basically from Madurai, he now works in Bangalore. We had a short chat and I spoke mostly in Tamil. This was a great opportunity to improve my Tamil. 


I began my trek at around 7:30AM. There were many bikes parked outside. Most youngsters trek here at night to watch the sunrise. They stay at the temple on the top of the hill. Devotees prefer trekking barefoot but it is allowed to wear shoes all the way till the top.


It is not required to have breakfast at the shops as 24/7 free food is served at Veerbadhra temple about 2km from the entry gate. They serve Ganji (Porridge) all day. Rice and sambhar are served for lunch. You can also refill water here. Since I had had my breakfast, I continued my journey. 


On my way, Jegan and I discussed about cost of living in TN. He agreed that Bangalore was very expensive. However, he also felt that it was much cleaner in Karnataka, than it is in TN. Which, I agree. The entire trail was filled with garbage. Jegan was a bit tired so, I had to leave him behind and continue my pace. 


The steps gave way to a rocky trail through the forest. I caught up with the other 4 boys who were in the same bus as mine. Three of them were students from Chennai – Abhishek, Praveen and Krishna. They had met Puspharaj from Pondicherry in the bus. He was trekking solo and had offered to tag along and guide them. 


Many who had trekked during the night were returning. The trek is extremely steep and is definitely not an easy one. I would consider it to be a moderate trek. There is no food or drink facility along the way. 


As I gained height, the views got better and better. 


The final stretch invoves a climb using ladders, chains and posts. It is also the most interesting part of the climb. 

Once you cross the ladder, you have uninterrupted view of the surroundings. You can also see the Arunachala hill in Tiruvannamalai. 

At the summit, I visited the temple. The boys requested me to make a video of their prayers. We entred the dark shrine. They cleaned the Shiva linga with water. Then they applied fresh Viboothi (Sacred ash). They decorated the idol with Billa pathrey (Wood apple) leaves and yellow chrysanthemum flowers.  Then, Pushparaj lit some camphor on a tray for the pooja. Chanting “Om Nama shivaya” they performed the pooja

Food is served at lunch time even at the summit. I donated some money for the free service they offer. After relaxing there for a bit, I headed back along with the boys. 


On my way back, I met Harish. I had seen him on the way up. I forgot where he is basically from, but he often visits his uncle in Bangalore. He believes that Bangalore is a better place and he would love to relocate there once done with his studies. He thinks that the people in Bangalore are kind and better than his own people. “Here, many can be narrow-minded and selfish”, he tells me. His dream is to travel as much as possible. Once he finds a job, he wants to make a trip to Goa.  He dreams to go on a bike trip to Ladakh someday. 


At Veerabadhra temple, I had Ganji (Rice porridge) and Sambhar-Rice. The food was hot and tasty. We relaxed for a while. I refilled my water bottle and continued the trek along with the boys. 


Just as we were approaching the entrance, I spotted two deers cross the road. They came to the main road, looked on either side and crossed the road swiftly. It was a beautiful sight. 


On the bus stop walls, there are phone numbers of the auto richshaw drivers written. The boys called one of them. Basha came by within 10 minutes to pick us up. He charged Rs100 for the 4 of us. Pushparaj was staying back. The boys did not let me pay. I was touched by their kindness so, I paid for their bus ride to Tiruvannamalai. 


I bid the three Chennai boys a farewell at the Bus station and walked back to my guest house. It was a great day. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with these boys. That also improved my Tamil. Experiencing rural India is always a great feeling.

Plan your trek here using my guide - Parvathamalai Guide

Checkout my Vlog on this Trek: 


  1. Thanks for the interesting trekkelogue. Pleasantly surprised you can speak Tamil. Therefore, there won't be any communications problem when we both meet in person.

    As I mentioned before my wife is from Thiruvannamalai. Visited there quite a few times. But never been to Parvathamalai.

    1. Hello SG. Thank you. Amma, Naa Tamil Pesrey. Improving on it though. Parvathamalai is a beautiful location indeed.

  2. AnonymousJuly 14, 2023

    Nice man...

  3. It was all good but you dint mention the duration of the trek while going and coming back!

    1. Hello, This is my personal blog and I mostly record my experiences here. For a guide on this trek please refer to my website ( I have provided the link in the end of this post.


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