There are two pathways around the Hill, the outer pathway which is the
most commonly travelled and which contains Temples, the Asta Lingams,
Tirthams and Shrines.
And the inner pathway which winds its way through the countryside at the feet of Arunachala.
According to scriptures, the walk around the Hill should be
conducted at a slow pace either in silence, reciting mantras or
chanting sacred songs. As to the ritual of the spiritual round; one
should abjure all thought of the opposite sex on the day of pradakshina
After bathing one wears clean white clothes, applies vibhutti and
proceeds, giving alms but without accepting any. Free from fear, anger,
irritation or sorrow one walks on bare feet, without using vehicles or
carrying an umbrella. Without swinging one's arms about, and with a
silent soft tread, one saunters like a queen in her 'tenth-month'. One
bows, first to the holy Hill from each of the eight cardinal directions,
and then to the Lord of that direction enshrined in the linga
there. One bows mentally to the incorporeal gods and siddhas
going the rounds and keeps to the side. One could keep silence of
speech and mind; or one could allow thoughts to flow on to the Hill of
Fire; or one could sing and listen to songs of devotional praise.
In the company of those of lofty character, one is able to
halt here and there and enjoy a feast of fruit and milk. Otherwise,
simple food free of flesh can be taken.
Certain days are
regarded as particularly auspicious for circumambulation The fruit of a Sunday pradakshina
is Siva's abode (enter the solar region and attain Liberation); that of Monday
is merger in Siva-form (live happily in a world free from senility and death); that of Tuesday
is termination of debt and cyclic death (freed from all doubts and becomes Emperor); that of Wednesday
is divinity through skill in philosophy and art (attain Wisdom and Omniscience); that of Thursday
is lordship over gods and god-men (venerated by all Devas and may even become a renowned Guru); that of Friday
is lordship of the Lotus Lady (may hope to reach Vishnu's abode). A Saturday pradakshina
confers the astronomical benefits of a nine-planet conjunction in the
Eleventh House (worldly success and protection against plantery
The above effects are magnified if circumambulation is done on Sivaratri
New-year day, or during the three months, mid-October to mid-January.
The fruits are believed to increase by a factor of one crore if done on
the two solstices; or on the day the moon is in the Magha asterism
during February-March; or during the pre-dawn hour; or during solar
eclipse or Vidhipaada Yoga
It is also regarded as particularly auspicious to perform
"Girivalam" during every Full moon day (poornima) to coincide with
siddars' movements, and the heady perfumes of herbal plants surrounding
Once a sadhu who went regularly around the Hill, requested
Sri Ramana for a Vedantic text. A devotee casually remarked, "He only
goes round the Hill. What will he do with any Vedantic text?" To which
Sri Ramana retorted, "What better sadhana can there be than going round
Hindu mythology also explains the signficance of
circumambulation, in a narrative relating that the Goddess Parvati on
the advice of Sage Gautama circumambulated the Hill everyday in order to
have her desires fulfilled.
says that Sage Durvasa, who cursed two vidyadharas
stated that, "The curse cannot be lifted by any act except that of
circumambulating the Arunachala Hill." He then proceeded to relate what
Siva Himself had declared in an assembly of devas and others: "He who
circumambulates with devotion the Arunachala Hill which is my form,
attains a form like mine. He becomes the Lord of the entire world and
reaches the highest state"
. The two vidyadharas
King Vajrangada who was suffering, "The Lord of Aruna Hill is a
repository of compassion and His glory is great. Circumambulate the
Aruna Hill on foot as a means of release from suffering".