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"Despite being open for only specific periods in a year, the Sabarimala temple is one of the most visited temples in the entire country. The devotees have tremendous faith in Sabarimala Ayyappa's power and undertake a rigourous pilgrimage to have an auspicious darshan of his idol. And the Sabarimala songs sung in the praise of Lord takes you to another world."
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Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple Thekkady,  Kerala
Sabarimala Temple Thekkady- Kerala

About Sabarimala Shrine

The Sabarimalai temple is one of most visited temples in entire India. This is despite the fact that the temple is open for public during specific season only (November 15 - January 19). It is located at a height of 950 m on the Sahayadri range amidst forest areas. Ayyappa temple Sabarimala is surrounded by 18 hills, each with a temple. Today, remnants of these temples are visible from the Sabarimala temple. The uniqueness of Sabarimala temple kerala lies in the fact that people of almost all religion and faith can pay a visit to it without any discrimination, however, women are not allowed in. The reason given for this is that Lord Sabarimala Ayyappa, to whom the temple is dedicated, was a confirmed bachelor and hence women (who have attained puberty) should not visit him.

There are a number of legends that associate themselves with the Sabarimala Temple and Sabarimala pilgrimage including the one where Ayyappa is claimed to be a Buddhist. However, the most famous of all legends and perhaps the most believed one revolves around the legend of Manikandan.

Sabarimala History - Know The Legend

The legend of Sabarimala states that King Rajshekhara, a direct descendant of the Pandya dynasty, ruled over Pandalam. He was childless and was forever worried as to who will succeed him after his death. Once, while returning from a hunting expedition, he heard the cries of a child in the forest, near the Pamba river. He followed the sound of cry and finally saw a child with golden chain and bell around his neck. The king fell into a dilemma whether he should carry the child back with him to the palace or not. At this point of time, a sage intervened and asked him to take the child home and name him Manikandan. He also informed the king that when the child attains twelve years of age, the king will know his divine history.

The king was overjoyed and returned with the child. The queen was very happy seeing the child, however, one person who could not take the arrival with joy was the deewan of Pandalam. He had his own plans of succeeding Rajshekhara and now his ambitions were in serious danger as the child was exceedingly brilliant and capable. By this time the queen had given birth to a son of her own. The deewan contrived with the queen, who in order to see her own son king, feigned illness. The physician, as per the deewan's instruction, advised the king that only a tigress milk could cure the queen of her ailment. Hearing this Manikandan, who was just twelve years at that point of time, insisted that he be allowed to go and fetch the milk for his mother. The king allowed, though reluctantly. Enroute, Manikandan also killed Mahishi who was committing atrocities on Devlok. Thereafter, Lord Shiva appeared before Manikandan and offered to accompany him along with other devas as tiger and tigress. Manikanadan agreed and returned with a bunch of tigress. King Rajshekhara realized the divine power of Manikandan and became aware that he was incarnation of Dhramasastha

Sabarimala Temple History - Sabarimala Jyothi Truth

Before leaving for devlok, Manikandan selected a place for his temple by aiming an arrow where the Makara Jyothi Sabarimala appeared. King Rajshekhara himself laid the foundation of the temple at the place, Sabari. Manikandan also made it clear that only those devotees can come on Sabarimala yatra who could carry on Sabarimala Vratham for 41 days will be blessed by him. During this period the devotees had to devoid themselves of all the carnal pleasure and eat vegetarian food. Also, the devotees needed to carry holy irumudi (a cloth bag containing puja and personal material) on their head in a similar manner as he himself carried it while going to forest. Moreover, the devotees will require to bathe in river Pampa shouting slogans of Saranam and ascend the 18 holy steps.

As per the instructions of God, Rajshekhera completed the temple and called Parsuraman to carve a figure of Lord Ayyappa, the Dharmasastha. The image was installed on the pious day of Makar Sankranthi.

The Temple at Sabarimala

The temple is built in accordance with the instructions of Lord Ayyappa himself. Sabarimala images of his faithful lieutenant Vavur and Kadutha guard the holy 18 steps, the ladder to heaven. The image of Lord Ayyapa is built of an alloy of five metals called the Panchaloha and is around one and a half feet tall. In front of the shrine, earlier, there was a homakund where, the devotees could burn the coconut after pouring the ghee on the deity. With increase in the number of devotees, however, the homakund was shifted to a place below the temple. A shrine of Ganapati occupies the portion south west of the main temple.

A small hillock houses Malikappurathamma temple dedicated to Devi and Kadhutswamy. Worshippers visit this temple to pay their respect to a trident and a lamp (also known as sabarimala light). On its left side, the temple has shrines of snake Gods and Goddess, Nagaraja and Nagayakshi. A little distance away from the temple is the Bhasma Kund, a temple tank. A number of devotees take a holy dip here in remembrance of Sabari who gave up her life by entering fire. It is after her that the peak has been named Sabarimala.

The Sabarimala Pilgrimage

The pilgrimage begins in the month of November and concludes in January. All those desirous of paying a visit to the sacred temple of Lord Ayyappa can initiate the process by wearing a rudraksha mala and giving oneself completely to the devotion of god. It is considered extremely auspicious to take the initiation process by a Guruswami ( someone who has been to the temple previously atleast seven consecutive year). Thereafter the pilgrims maintain a 41 day rigorous austerities. Those successful can head towards the Temple in batches under the leadership of a capable person. All individual need to carry the Irumudi Kettu which has two sections. The first one contains a coconut filled with ghee while the second one holds the necessary items required for the journey. The significance of these items are more than apparent as they manifest human desire that needs to be renounced to merge with the god and divinity.

There are three routes to the temple, the easiest one being the one through Chalakyam which is very close to the Pampa river. From here Sannidhanam is just 8 km away. The most tough route, the Erumeli route, entails the pilgrims to undertake a 61 km walk on foot through forests and hill track. There is also the Vandiperiyar route which commences from 94.4 km stone on the Kottayam - Kumli road. Crossing the 18 divine steps is the next step in the pilgrimage. The steps have their own relevance and those who climb it are believed to attain 'Punyadarshan'. Here the coconut is broken and the ghee is poured over Lord Ayyappa's idol. The union with god is considered complete

Sabarimala Temple Guide


Sabarimala Opening Dates - Opens in November and closes in January.

Sabarimala Photos - Although clicking the picture of the deity is not allowed, but you can still buy Sabarimala pictures for your home or puja from the local shops. Besides images you can also buy Sabarimala prasadam from these shops.

Sabarimala News - Being one of the most visited pilgrim center of India, Sabarimala Shrine board has started their own tv channel, from where the devotees can see the Sabarimala live aarti and other important news about the temple.

Sabarimala Map

Sabarimala Map



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