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Sabarimala (Malayalam: ശബരിമല | Kannada: ಶಬರಿಮಲೆ | Tamil: சபரிமலை | Telugu: శబరిమల | Hindi: सबरिमलय)

Ayyappa
Quick Facts
  • Sabarimala is a Hindu pilgrimage center located in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Perunad grama panchayat in Kerala.
  • It is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world.
  • Sabarimala Temple is believed to be the place where lord Ayappan meditated after killing the demon Mahishi.
  • Sabarimala temple goes by Ayyappan’s temple is situated here amidst 18 hills.
  • The devotees have to trek to reach temple as it is covered by dense forest. There are 3 routes to reach Temple.
  • Every devotee has to take holy bath in Pamba River and from there they are supposed to trek to reach Sannidhanam.
  • The temple remains open only on the first six days of every Malayalam month, during the days of Mandalapuja (approximately 15 November to 26 December) and the festive occasions of Makara Sankrati and Vishu.
  • The Ayyappa idol within the Sannidhanam is worshipped by millions was originally carved out of stone, however the current idol of Ayyappan is made from panchaloha, an amalgam of five metals and is about one and a half feet tall.
  • The original 18 steps at Sabarimala were granite blocks, five or six feet wide.
  • Before ascending or descending the steps, pilgrims break coconut as an offering to the steps.
  • One needs to have the sacred Irumudi on head while going up or down the 18 steps and while descending the steps the devotees climb down backwards facing the sanctum sanctorum.
  • Travancore Devasom, the current governing body of the temple covered them with panchaloha after a lengthy Devaprashanam.
  • The renovation work was completed in November, 1985 and now the holy steps are covered in gold.
  • This temple is a major pilgrimage for men.
  • Women between the ages 10 to 50 are not allowed inside the temple as Lord Ayappan is celibate.
  • All the pilgrims are expected to follow a 41 days penance once they take deeksha where they are not supposed to consume alcohol, smoke, eat non vegetarian food, indulge in sexual acts or shave or have hair cuts, bear feet walking, sleeping on floor, taking cold water baths in morning and evening are some of the rituals that one should observe during deeksha days.
  • They are also expected to wear plain blue/black/ orange colored traditional clothes.
  • Pilgrims who took deeksha carry Pallikettu or Irumudi on their heads (A two compartment bag made of handwoven cotton cloth used to carry the offerings to god in one compartment and in one they carry food for themselves which is needed for them on the way.
  • Thazhamon Matom is the traditional priest family who has powers over the matters to be decided in Sabarimala Temple.
  • Tantri is the highest priest and is the head of the temple.
  • The prasadam at Sabarimala temple is Aravana payasam and Appam. These are prepared by using rice, ghee, sugar, jaggery etc.
  • Harivarasanam is recited before closing the temple door every night.
  • Makara Jyothi or Divya Jyothi is an effulgence that shines three times on the opposite side of temple in the hills which can be seen in and from nine places around Sannidhanam; which is worshiped by pilgrims in huge numbers on Makara Sankranti every year.

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