How to reach Sabarimala Temple
The Sabarimala temple attracts pilgrims not from all over India but also from other parts of the world. The shrine gets thronged with devotees. The Sabarimala is the most famous pilgrimage destination in state of Kerala that begins in the month of November and ends in January since Sabarimala’s main pilgrimage season is from 14 Nov to 20th Jan every year.
Darshan to the shrine of Sabarimala is not open throughout the year. It remains open for few days on the occasion of Makarasankranti and Makaravilakku and is closed to the end and beginning of each Malayalam Calendar month. So pilgrims have to follow certain customs very strictly if one has to undertake a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Pilgrimage to Sabarimala should be undertaken after 41 days of rigorous purifying rituals.
And the journey should be under the guidance of Guruswami for beginners each carrying a cloth bundle called Irumudi kettu containing traditional offerings. Unlike certain Hindu temples, Sabarimala temple has no restrictions of caste or creed. The temple is open to males of all age groups. The devotees are required to break a coconut at the appointed place before entry to the steps.
As the shrine lord Ayyappa Swamy is situated on a lofted platau there are three entries consisting of eighteen steps each on the eastern, northern and western sides (Front, Left and Back). Entry through the main holy steps in the front is restricted to those carrying the mandatory “Irumudikkettu” and it is custom to wear dark clothes as a reminder of Ayyan’s expedition. These holy steps are used only twice during a visit namely go and return.
Shrine of Sabarimala lord Ayyappa Swamy is situated in a thick forest, in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala and nearer to Tamilnadu boarders. Reaching this place is easy via Chalakkayam, by which one can reach the banks of the river Pamba by vehicle the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala.
There are many transport services available to reach Sabarimala. The Thiruvananthapuram International airport and the Cochin International airport are the nearest airports and to travel by air the Ayyappa devotees has to book 45 days before itself to reserve the tickets, if they want to visit Sabarimalai on Mandala Poojas and Makara Jyoti days.
Chengannur railway station is the nearest railway station located 100 km from Sabarimala. But reaching Sabarimala by train or aero plane is not possible only bus services from nearby states like Tamil Nadu, Karnatake and Andhra Pradesh.and taxi services are available to reach Pampa.
One has to reach shabarimala by three trekking paths available for you. One is the 6 km uphill from Pampa. It will take a minimum of three hours to reach Sabarimala. But when the crowd increases, it may extend upto 10 hours or more.
The Erumali- Pampa- Sabarimala trekking path is the longest among the three with a distance of more than 50 km. The trekking route Uppupara- Sabarimala is used by those who are coming from Vandiperiyar side. It’s only a 4 kms, but will take more time than the previous one.