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Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple

Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple

As the legend goes, when Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Mohini to take away the ambrosia (amrit) for the Gods without the knowledge of the demons, Lord Shiva became attracted towards her and out of their union was born the child Sasta or Ayyappa. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa only. Located in the Rani reserve forest of the Manimala Range of Thiruvananthapuram, the shrine is situated about 300 metres high up. The devotees travel on foot from Pamba (4 Km) to visit the shrine. The entire area is full of precipitous hill slopes and dense deciduous and evergreen forests infested with wild animals.

Interesting Facts

  • The temple at Sabarimala is believed to be over a thousand years old.
  • The devotees climb the sacred eighteen steps to reach the 'sanctum sanctorum' for the 'darshan' of the sacred jewellery of Lord Ayyappa.
  • People of all castes and creeds are permitted into the temple.
  • Entry is not allowed to women in the fertility age group, i.e. between 10 and 50 years of age.
  • Pilgrims offer 'Erimudikettu' to the deity, which contains ghee, camphor and rice filled coconuts.
  • The temple dome is covered with gold.
  • Devotees take a ritual bath while climbing up the hill in the holy river Pamba, which washes away one's sins.

The pilgrimage to Sabarimala is organized thrice a year – during ‘Vishu' in April; 'mandalam' in December; and 'Makara Sankranti' in January.

Another Fascinating Feature
'Makar Villaku' is a popular ceremony of the temple, in which the deity's jewellery (Thirivabharanam) is brought from the Pandalam Palace, three days prior to Makara Sankranti. This sacred jewellery is kept in a box and brought in a royal procession by a priest. The procession halts at a few temples en route and reaches Sabarimala on Makara Sankranti.

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