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Sabarimala - Great Holy place of South India

Updated on December 9, 2014
Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple
Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple | Source

Sabarimala Ayyappan

Sabarimala Ayyappan Sannidhanam (temple) is one of the most honored Hindu worship place in India. The famous Temple located in God's own country 'Kerala'.

Dharma Sastha/Lord Ayyappan is the presiding deity in Sabarimala Temple. He is one of the most respected deities among the Hindu Gods.

Every year, irrespective of caste creeds or religion, millions of devotees assembling in this temple. They just want to have a glimpse (darshan) at Lord Ayyappan

This Sabarimala Temple in Pathinamthitta District surrounded by tropical forest and 18 hills. This dense forest is part of Western Ghat Mountain Ranges and the safe home for several dangerous wildlife species.

A pilgrimage through this dense forest to the Sabarimala Temple is giving a great experience.

Ayyappan Temple Sabarimala

Ayyappan Temple Sabarimala
Ayyappan Temple Sabarimala | Source

Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple

As per Hindu mythology, Temple at Sabarimala, built by saint warrior Parasurama. He naturalized the Land of Kerala from the sea.

Enclosed by dense tropical forest and hills, the Temple situated at 1260m above sea level. Pamba is the main base camp on the way to Sabarimala Temple.

From Pamba river one can trek 5 km to reach the Temple. East of the Temple is 'Vavarnada' which honors 'Vavar', a Muslim associate of Lord Ayyappan.

Sabarimala is one of the five 'Panchashastha' Temples. The Temples built by the great Yogi to protect Kerala from negative elements.

The others being Kulathuppuzha, Aryankavu, Achankovil and Erumeli. At Sabarimala Lord Ayyappan is a Brahmachari in a state of everlasting glory or Samadhi, showing Chinmudra.

As per myth, the lord sought this lonely place to meditate soon after defeating the demon, Mahishi in a brutal battle. This Temple is open to devotees only during Mandalapooja and Makaravilakku (November to January). And Vishu (First day of every month in the Malayalam calendar).

The Legend

There are so many widespread stories related with Lord Ayyappan among the devotees. The stories differ, but there are several common elements in those stories.

The well-liked and accepted story tells that Lord Ayyappan had his human stopover as the son of the King Rajasekara of Pandalam. During one of his hunting trips, the King confused to hear the cry of a baby on the banks of the Pamba river.

He surprised to find a sparkling baby boy there. Though the King had no children, he accepted the baby as God's benefaction, response to his ardent prayer for an heir to his throne.

Baby Ayyappa grew into a boy well competent in educational lore and martial arts and he cherished the King and his citizens. He was a super-human with divine knowledge and courage.

He sheltered the King and the kingdom from the confrontation of enemies. Finally he disappeared into the woods and since that time worshiped in this temple at Sabarimala.

Book on Ayyappan

The Sabarimalai Pilgrimage and Ayyappan Cultus
The Sabarimalai Pilgrimage and Ayyappan Cultus

A well known sacred place in south India. The Ayyappan temple is situated on the eastern side of of Kerela on a mountain named Sabarimala. An extremely old temple with Sastha as the leading god is there located at Sabarimala.


Climbing Sabarimala

Climbing Sabarimala
Climbing Sabarimala | Source

The Austerities

A devotee visiting the Sabarimala at the time of Mandalapooja must observe special austerities. It starts 41 days before his pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

The pilgrim should withdraw from non- vegetarian food intake. He should not give way to sexual desires and must wear the special Rudraksha mala.

These austerities start from the first day of Virichigam (Malayalam month). After this ritual, the pilgrims called as Ayyappan until their conclusion of the pilgrimage.

During the period of austerities, devotees expected to go through specific practices. With simple living, and complete cleanliness.

Total self-discipline needed for devotees, away from all habits like drinking, cigarette and non-vegetarian meals.

The devotee is likely to wear color clothes. They must pray daily in the mornings and evenings after a bath. The prayer ritual carried out by going to any temple or in one's own Pooja room.

The austerities continues till the devotee returns from his pilgrimage. And take off his `mala' and break a coconut and offering prayers.

Sabarimala Pooja Song - Vid

The Irumudi

lrumudi is the only carrying bag which a devotee carries on his head during the religious journey. Those who observe austerities for 41 days only allowed to carry sacred Irumudi.

Without the Irumudi no one is permitted to enter into the Sannidhanam through the holy 18 steps at the Sabarimala. This bag is in two compartments - (the front part and the back part with an opening at center).

The front compartment is for keeping all the Pooja articles and offerings to Ayyappan. While the rear compartment is to keep the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.

An important ritual conducted in the temple. Spilling sacred ghee carried by devotees in their Irumudi on the Lord Ayyappan's Idol.

Please Note: Women of certain age group (above 14 years and below 50 years) are strictly not allowed in this Temple.

The Pettai Thullal

At Erumeli, pilgrims are performing a traditional ritual called Pettai Thullal. (Pettai means area and Thullal means Dance).

Pilgrims cover up themselves like ethnic groups, with leaves tied on their head applying color patches all over body. Dummy weapons like Swords, Bows etc, carried on their shoulders.

They also hire music groups like Thavil or Chenda Melam and Nadhaswaram with them. They chant "Swami Thinthakkathom - Ayyappa Thinthakkathom".

Apart from this they dance along the way for about half a kilometer.

Pettai Thullal -Vid

Sabarimalai Temple is one of the largest pilgrimage center in the whole world around 40 million people gather every year. Ref: List of largest peaceful gatherings in history

Crowd of Pilgrims

Sabarimala Map

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    • Felicitas profile image

      Felicitas 5 years ago

      I absolutely love the Hindu temples and statues. You do such an amazing job of integrating the images with the information.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Such wonderful detailed information. Love the way you put in the background info.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Its my joy to return to sprinkle angel dust over this excellent presentation on Sabarimala, your love is very evident!

    • profile image

      indiavacationplans 6 years ago

      This looks like a cool place to go! Excellent lens! Blessed!

    • Yourpersonalcon profile image

      Yourpersonalcon 6 years ago

      What a wonderful lens - a visual treat and an education!

    • profile image

      dilipsvarma 6 years ago

      Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      SWAMIYE SHARNAM AYYAPPA...I can't live without you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very informative reading. Thank you and God bless.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have heard about Sabarimala but never got a chance to visit this temple. It is amazing how many people travel to this beautiful temple.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm here again to say.. I love this lens of yours so much.. 5 stars and Have a wonderful time.. my friend :)

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens, once again. Written well with all the history and facts... I enjoyed reading it...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very nice lens, I like this. Love the colorful pictures that you used too. You have a lot of information on here, this must have taken lots of time to create. Its creative!