Athri Nath or Athri Hills is a highly divine and spiritual center. A place of Siddhars. Yogis, and Rishis They are similar in that they dedicate their lives to the realization of Truth and God. However, they behave slightly differently and belong to of the category of Saints who live according to divine directions. These people will not allow others to get close to them and in order to understand their spiritual enlightenment, one must follow in their footpath to attain sanctity and knowledge.
The second leg of the Spiritual/adventurous journey by this enthusiastic group of friends was filled with much greater and rich experience and memories that is bound to kindle the very essence of one's sacred beliefs.
|The Greenery of the Hill|
A commendable man, with a thorough knowledge of all mooligais [Herbs] on the hills ; a down-to-earth- person, with no expectations from us of any kind, was the guiding force for all of us during this trip. To say he knows the trails like the back of his hand is an understatement and he has been intimately involved in guiding groups around the wonderful trails of such Hills like these. He in fact provided us with idlis [very refreshing and tasty ones] for breakfast, after our bath at the base of the hills just before we started climbing the hills......which lasted not less than 3 Hrs ". ....
The mesmerising "cool breeze over the mountains" whiffs gently ----Kissing, caressing past you and as you climb these steep mountains, there is a tangent aroma of the strong "Mooligai" [Herbs] lying thickly populated around the hill, which undoubtedly, gives you a feeling of liberation thereby drenching, tranquilising and intoxicating you to the maximum!
Not to mention ----a wonderful experience of inhaling tons and tons of fresh Oxygen in the air....!!
You walk through the most amazing fragrances of herbs and wild flowers as you venture on your journey up these mountains.
These herbs are indeed exotic, and it's undeniable fragrance is both pleasant and relaxing. Both the leaves and the flowers of these various plants emit a powerful, yet relaxing, scent. As you inhale the fragrance with the eyes closed, the mind becomes clear as the vapour courses through the brain cells.
|Rich Mooligai [Herbs]Medicines in the Hill - Athri Malai|
|Early morning - Time to start the journey -Athri Malai|
Rejuvenated after the tasty and fulfilling breakfast, Shri NRV, Ramachandran and the entire group were all set to go up the Hills of Athri.
The journey up the hills via Kandana Dam offers scenic views and vistas of nature’s bountiful splendors.
|Scenic View - Athri Malai|
|Up the Rugged Path to Athri Malai|
One should be prepared to face all of these hazards to get the feeling of satisfaction in going up these sacred hills. As regards this Yatra, one must bear in mind the need for enduring hardships and extreme physical discomfort throughout the climb. The one school of thought is that the trip consists of senior swamis and the extremely ritual-bound holds that the arduous terrain should be retained. They give examples of how it was in those days.There is no doubt that the climb up the Athri Hills itself was pretty tough in those days. In fact there was a point where the only way to climb up was by crambling up the thick roots of a tree in the middle of the path. The conditions are slightly better but still arduous with no concrete path. One should venture up these Hills only with a proper guide who is familiar with the route and surroundings and make sure that the paths are free of wild poaching animals.
|The Dense Athri Malai Forest|
Even though everyone is bare -footed, one had little hindrance in walking faster on bare feet without worrying about the roots, stones and slippery mud during the entire journey.The continuous seeping of rain water has created wonderful natural formations of various gods and goddesses en route.
|A Carved Siddhar Stone en-route Athri Malai|
|Poaching Animals -Deep in the Forests|
.....Walk in the Clouds - Trek to your hearts content while the clouds slowly descend upon you......
It took nearly three hours for us to reach the abode of Athri maharishi. As you wind your way up the steep, rugged and slippery hill, one can find the surrounding atmosphere to be so serene and filled with tranquility. This is what you could call....."HEAVEN ON EARTH"...!!!
Shri NRV, Ramachandran along with the members of the group had taken an idol of "Patanjali" to be offered to the Ashram of the Athri Maharishi.
A Brief Note on Patañjali
|Pooja and Abhishegams done for the Shiva Lingam- -Athri Maram|
Still memories are etched in the minds of the trekkers on how the numerous sages and tribes have lived / living precariously on the valley. One could not but raise a question as to why all over the world the Sages and tribes choose to live on the mineral rich mountains and not on the plains. It is said that such places are natural soothing places which prevent diseases and ensures calmness and tranquility in minds. After visiting the lived / living sages/tribes, one has no choice but to believe that their world is far off from ours--- they may lack modern facilities and technology we enjoy, but relatively, they are free and happy with a clean and healthy environment.
The climb and walk back down the hill was much easier but still required plenty of concentration.
Soon after each one realising they are down, enjoy an easy walk down to the gateway/carpark, to the mode of transport, to take them back to their hotel rooms for a good night's rest!
|The Mystical Hills of Athri|
|Sage Athri Maharishi|
|The Creator of the Ganga River-Sage Athri|
Lord Shiva, Korakkar, Athri-Anushia and Agasthiyar in behind of Pothigai hill [Agasthiyamalai] at Western Ghats