Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala
Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is a renowned pilgrim centre atop the rugged hills of the Western Ghats. This holy shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, situated in middle of the Reserve Forest area in Perinad village, Ranni Taluk, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala. Ayyappa temple is surrounded by valley with a green forest hills. Sabarimala is named after Shabari. For Shabari’s devotion and faith during her penance, Lord Rama who accepted her wish.
Sabarimala is about 4135 feet above sea level is thronged by millions of devotees with prayers and chanting Ayyappa name with high volume. The pilgrimage to Sabarimala Sri Dharmasasta Temple is most famous and prominent among all the Sastha Temples. This temple stands as an example for communal harmony.
Ayyappa devotees believed that “Parasurama Maharshi” from sea, troughed his axe, than the idol of Ayyappa was installed at Sabarimala. The devotees not only from southern India and also from different parts of the country and abroad visit here in the months of November and at the end of January. Temple is opens to people of all faiths and different non-hindus pilgrimages to this temple. The existence of the “Vavar Nada” is honor of a Muslim saint is near to the main Ayyappa Swamy temple by the side of Holy Pathinettampady at Sabarimala. Pilgrims also offer prayers in the mosque at Vermeil. An significant aspect in Ayyappa pilgrimage is addressing each other as AYYAPPA whether rich or poor, learned or illiterate, master or servant are all equal before LORD AYYAPPA.
pamba River is the spot on the way to Sabarimala Temple. Devotees take a holy bath and prayers here and move towards the Neelimala Hill. After a 7.5 kms walk up the Neelimala Hill is the holy Lord Ayyappan Temple.
In the front side for mounting to the main temple of Sree Dharma Shastha pilgrims reach the Pathinettampadi, the holy eighteen steps. This eighteen steps is permitted to climb, only who carry Irumudi Kettu. Other pilgrims must make their entry to the temple on the rare side only.
Sabarimala Temple Visiting Period
The main pilgrimage season start from Mandala Pooja (November) and Makaravilakku (January) every year. The temple closes for five days after Mandala Puja, to re-opening for the Makaravilakku Mahotsavam. During the Malayalam month of Chingam and Vishnu, Pilgrims also visit in large numbers to the temple for Onam. For Darshan Sabarimala Temple opens at 4:00 am and is closes between 1:30 pm to 5:30pm for afternoon puja. Again it is opened at 5:30 pm and closed at 11:00 pm, after Harivarasanam Song.
Routes to Sabarimala Temple
Mainly three routes to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple – The Erumeli route from Tamilnadu travel via Kottayam – Kumali (KK) road is the most difficult one to cover about 61 km on foot through forest and hill track. On reaching Vandiperiyar, they turn to Uppupara which is easy to walk of 6 kms to Sabarimala. The Chalakayam route is near Pampa River and the temple is only 8 kms to Sabarimala. The Chalakayam route the easiest among all other routes.
How to reach Sabarimala Temple in Kerala
Sabarimala being many pilgrims to Kerala by the Southern Railways and State Bus Transport corporations operate special trains and buses for the near by facility of pilgrims between November and January pilgrimage season.
To nearest airports to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, are 78km from Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery, Ernakulam and 150km from Trivandrum International Airport at Thiruvananthapuram.
Chengannur Railway Station, Thiruvalla Railway Station and Changanacherry Railway Station are the nearest railway stations to reach Sabarimala Temple.