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Sabarimala


About the Temple

If you are palnning a temple tour in Kerala do not miss out Sabrimala Temple in Kerala. Open only for a specific period of time, the pilgrimage attracts many pilgrims. Situated at a height of 950 meters on the Sahaydri ranges betwixt the lush forests, Sabrimala temple is enveloped by 18 hills. It embraces pilgrims from far and wide without any discrimination of religion and caste, class and creed. Lord Ayyappa is the deity of this temple who was a bachelor and observed celibacy and so women between the age of 10 - 50 years do not visit the temple. The temple has legends associated to it one of which holds that Ayyappa was a Buddhist. If you visit the Sabrimala Temple you will come across the "Manikandan" legend prevalent about the temple.

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Lord Ayyappa himself instructed to build the temple. You get to see the images of his faithful commanders - Vavur and Kadutha - who protect the 18 holy stair cases of the temple that are deemed as "Ladder to Heaven". The one and a half feet tall image of Lord Ayyappa is made of an alloy of five metals " Panchaloha". Earlier the devotees could offer their prayers by burning the coconut in the homakund and pouring ghee on the idol. Now you see this homakund below the temple. Pilgrims also see the enshrined Ganpati in the South West of the main temple.

Besides Lord Ayyappa, you also get to see the Malikappurathamma temple dedicated to Devi and Kadhutswamy, temple of snake Gods and Goddess- Nagaraja and Nagayakshi, Bhasma Kund, a temple tank. Pilgrims visit the temple with great enthusiasm and pay their humble prayers. Many pilgrims take a holy dip in the tank to pay homage to Sabari who ended up her life by jumping into the fire. And thereafter he peak was named "Sabrimala".

Before embarking on the journey you have to observe some strict disciplines like abstaining form alcohol, smoking and other luxuries of life. Before visiting the temple one has to worschip the shrine dedicated to a Muslim Saint.

Thus, your tour to Sabrimala temple will be an overwhelming experience to see devotees of all religions - no Hindu no Muslim.

The Sabarimala Temple festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Ayyapa who is revered by all in India.

Sabarimala is a renowned pilgrim centre atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats. This holy shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayappa. The main pilgrimage is undertaken between November and January.

There are two main rituals called the Mandal Puja and the Makara Sankranti Puja, which is celebrated from November to mid-January in Kerala during which time, the devotees perform austerities and penance.

The Pilgrimage

Devotees undergo rigorous penance and austere living before starting on the pilgrimage. Regardless of caste, creed and colour they wear black dhoties and carry on their heads, bundles containing traditional offerings like coconuts filled with ghee, camphor and rice.

The temple dome is covered with gold and the devotees break the coconuts before climbing the steps.

Among the pilgrims, there are a few who are undertaking the pilgrimage for the first time while ther are a few who have been doing so for the past many years.

The first timers are known as 'Kanni Swamis' and the leader of the group is known as 'Guru Swami' or the lead person of a team who is incharge of all the rituals.

Devotees take a ritual bath while climbing up the hill in the holy river Pamba, which absolves one's sins. En route at Erumeli, in a supreme instance of communal harmony, they pay obeisance at the shrine of Vavar, a Muslim deity believed to be a close ally of Lord Ayyappa.

To ease the ardour of the long trek through the forests to the temple at the peak of the Sabari Hills, devotees constantly chant the name of the holy one. No women in the fertility age group are allowed into the precincts of the shrine of the Lord who is considered to be an Eternal Bachelor.


General Information

Location
Pathanamthitta, Kerala.
Timings
November To January.
Deity
Lord Ayappa.
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