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Sabarimala, Pathanamthitta District,

Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, committed to Lord Ayyappa, is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala. Sabarimala is a Hindu pilgrimage place situated in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Perunad grama panchayat in Kerala. It is the biggest yearly pilgrimage in the world with an expected 50 million followers visiting by every year. It has surpassed all the established meanings of an pilgrim place. The geographical, ecological and ritualistic uniqueness gives Sabarimala totally unique measurements in assessment with other pilgrim locations. Sabarimala is believed to be the place where the Hindu God Ayyappan meditated after murdering the evil demoness, Mahishi. Ayyappan’s temple is located here in the midst of 18 hills. The temple is located on a hilltop at a height of 468 m (1535 ft) above mean ocean level, and is surrounded by mountains and thick jungle. temples exist in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional and integral temples exist at many locations in the surrounding areas like Nilackal, Kalaketi, and Karimala, remnants of old temples survive to this day on remaining hills.

Sabarimala is connected to Hindu holy pilgrimage, predominantly for men of all ages.You can recognize a Sabarimala pilgrim easily as they wear dark or blue costume.They don’t shave till the finishing of pilgrimage and smear Vibhuti or Sandal paste on their forehead.Women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not permitted to enter the temple, since the story attributed to Ayyappa forbids the entry of the ladies in the menstrual age group. This is because Ayyappan is a Bramhachari (chaste). Sabarimala temple is at present remains open for darsan through the initial 5 days of each Malayalam month and for about two and half months every year amid the festival season covering the ‘Mandala Pooja’ and ‘Makara Vilakku’. Festival period begins from the first of Malayalam month “Vrichikam” (November) and closes on the first of “Makaram” (January). Except this, the temple will open during other well known festivals of Kerala like Onam and Vishu furthermore for Atta Chithira, Nira puthari and Painkuni Uthram. Huge number of pilgrims visits the Sabarimala temple amid the Mandala Pooja and Makara Vilakku festival period.

The Pilgrimage
Sabarimala TempleThe devotees are expected to follow a Vratham (41-day fasting) before the pilgrimage. This starts with wearing of a special Mala. All in all from that time they are to abstain from non veg food of any type (except dairy) liquor, and tobacco, taking part in sex, using foul language, hair-cut, shaving and even trimming the nails. They are required to take bath twice in a day and visit the nearby temples daily and only wear plain black or blue color traditional costume. Saffron colored dresses are worn by Sanysis who have renunciated material life. In any case,many followers still keep on wearring saffron colored garments which becomes a part of vedic society which join the entire Hindus around the world.

Hundreds of devotees still like the conventional mountainous forest way (near about 61 km) from Erumely,12.8 km from Vandiperiyar and 8 km from Chalakayam, accepted to be taken by Ayyappa himself. The Erumely route begins from Erumely to Aludha river, then crosses the Aludha mountain to reach Karivilam thodu. Now comes the sacred Karimala crossing, from that point to Cheriyanavattom, Valliyanavattom and in the end Pamba River. After that they need to climb neelimala and we enter into the ganesh bettam, shreerama betta padam. Then comes the Aranmula kottaram, which is one of the end spot of holy journey ‘thiruvabharana ghoshayatra’.

In these days mostly people prefer vehicles to reach till the Holy Pamba River by a substitute road. From Pamba, all the pilgrims start trekking the steep mountain way of Neeli Mala till Sabari Mala. This path is currently well developed, with emergency shops and medical help by the sides, and supporting aid is provided to the pilgrims while climbing the steep slope, which used to be a negligible trail through thick forest. The elderly pilgrims are lifted by men on bamboo seats till the top, on being paid.

Sabarimala TempleThe prasadam at Sabarimala temple is Aravana payasam and Appam. These are prepared by rice, ghee, sugar, jaggery and so on. The rice required to prepare the prasadam at Sabarimala temple is arranged by Chettikulangara Devi Temple, the second biggest temple under Travancore devaswom board located at Mavelikkara. The Chief Commissioner, Travancore Devaswom Board said that the board has designated Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore as an expert for giving specialized direction to guarantee the quality of Aravana, Appam, and other prasadam preparations at Sabarimala temple.

Makara Vilakku
Lord Sri Rama and brother Lakshmana met Sabari, a tribal devotee, at Sabarimala. Sabari offered the fruits after testing them to Lord Rama. But the God got them happily and whole heartedly. The Lord then turned and saw a divine person doing tapas. He asked Sabari who it was. Sabari said it was Sasta. Rama went at Sasta and the last remained up and welcomed the Prince of Ayodhya. The anniversary of this event is celebrated on Makara Vilakku day. It is accepted that on Makara Vilakku day, Lord Dharmasasta stops his tapas to bless his devotees and it is also called makara shankranthi. There are many locations with comparative story of Sabari, no verification of either exist.

Sabarimala Temple Calender for Darshan

The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala is open for darshan during certain days and time periods in the year.

Event Opening Closing
Makaravilakku Day 14-01-2015
Monthly Pooja ( Kumbham) 12-02-2015 5PM 17-02-2015 10PM
Monthly Pooja ( meenam) 14-03-2015 5PM 19-03-2015 10PM
Ulsavam 24-03-2015 5PM 03-04-2015 10PM
Kodiyettu 25-03-2015
Paikuni uthram & Arattu 03-04-2015
Meda vishu festival 10-04-2015 5PM 19-04-2015 10PM
Meda Vishu 15-04-2015
Monthly Pooja (Edavam) 14-05-2015 5PM 19-05-2015 10PM
Idol Installation Day 28-05-2015 5PM 29-05-2015 10PM
Monthly Pooja ( Midhunam) 15-06-2015 5PM 20-06-2015 10PM
Monthly Pooja ( Karkidakam) 16-07-2015 5PM 21-07-2015 10PM
Monthly Pooja ( chingam) 16-08-2015 5PM 21-08-2015 10PM
Onam 26-08-2015 5PM 30-08-2015 10PM
Monthly Pooja (Kanni) 16-09-2015 5PM 21-09-2015 10PM
Monthly Pooja (Thulam) 17-10-2015 5PM 22-10-2015 10PM
Sree chithra Attathirunal 09-11-2015 5PM 10-11-2015 10PM
Mandala Pooja Maholsavam 16-11-2015 5PM 27-12-2015 10PM
Mandala Pooja 27-12-2015
Makaravilakku festival 30-12-2015 5PM 21-01-2016 10PM

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