Sabarimala Temple is one of the most revered and most popular shrines of Kerala. Located at village of Sabarimala, Sri Ayyappa Temple falls in the eastern part of Kerala bordered by Tamil Nadu. One can easily reach Sabarimala Temple by taking regular buses or by hiring taxis from the major towns and cities of Kerala. The nearest airports are located at Thiruvanathapuram and Kochi at a distance of 115 kms and 106 kms from Sabarimala. The nearest railway stations to Sabarimala are found at Kottayam and Chengannur. The temple lies on a hill; Pampi is the last destination, where transport can be reached after that one has to travel a distance of 5 kms on foot.
The village of Sabarimala got its name from 'Shabari', a devotee who did
rigorous penance with the intention of meeting Lord Rama. Sabarimala
Temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is regarded as the unification
of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. As per the local folklore, Lord
Parasurama placed the deity at the base of Sabari Hills. Even the great
Hindu epic of 'the Ramayana' confirms this fact. The two branches of
Hinduism i.e. Shaivism and Vaishnavism come together in the form of Lord
Ayyappa. Also famous as Dharma Shasta, Lord Ayyappa is also regarded as
Lord Buddha, though there is no data to verify this fact.
The dome of Sabarimala Temple is covered with gold. In the vicinity of
the temple, there is shrine dedicated to Vavar (Muslim by religion), who
was an ardent devotee of Lord Ayyappa. Suggesting the religious
tolerance, the tour to Sabarimala is said to be incomplete without the
worship of Lord Vavar. From Sabarimala Temple, People can also see
Makara Vilakku, which is a holy light on the close by hill. This light
is regarded as a sign of the divine presence.
Sabarimala is a well-known pilgrim center of Kerala. The temple observes
an annual festival where hundreds of devotees come after observing
complete abstinence from the worldly affairs. Sabarimala festival is
celebrated from the month of November to mid January. During this time,
Mandal Puja and Makar Sankranti Puja are the two main occasions when
temple is visited by thousands of people. Makar Sankranti (14 Jan') is
considered as the most propitious day of the pilgrimage.
An amazing fact about Sabarimala Temple is that this shrine is open to
people from all religions, castes, creed or color. The preponderance of
pilgrims is made by men, who are required to observe fast for forty
days. During this period, one needs to observe celibacy and undergoes
daily prayer rituals. Young Girls, who have not yet attained the age of
puberty and Women, who have reached the phase of menopause can attend
the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
Before starting the journey, devotes take a ritual bath in the sacred
river 'Pamba', which is assumed to wash away one's sins. Devotees carry
packs enclosing contain conventional offerings like coconut filled with
ghee, camphor and rice on their heads. When they arrive at the temple
steps, they break the coconut here and continue forward to get the
glimpse of the Lord.
Sri Ayyappa Sabarimala Temple forms an important pilgrimage of Kerala. Read more about the Ayyappan Sabarimala Temple.
|Location:||Western Ghats, Kerala|
|Dedicated to:||Lord Ayyappa|
|Significance:||Holy pilgrimage of the Hindus|
|How to reach:||One can easily reach Sabarimala Temple by taking Regular Buses or by hiring Taxis from Kerala|