The Sabarimala Temple’s History
One of Kerala’s most popular tourist destinations is the Sabarimala temple. Lord Parshuram laid the foundation for the Sabarimala temple. It is located in the centre of the Western Ghat hills, in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. On this hill, there are numerous additional temples as well; many of them are only ancient ruins, while some are still in use. The primary deity of the Sabarimala temple, Lord Ayyappa, is thought to represent the merged form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Some people believe that Lord Ayyappa is a Buddha incarnate, yet there is no proof for this.
Legend of Sabarimala:
Various explanations exist for why menstruation women were prohibited from entering the Sabarimala Temple. Oral and puranic traditions state that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, when the latter was in the Mohini form, were the parents of Lord Ayyappa.
During the great churning of the oceans, Lord Vishnu assumed the shape of Mohini in order to vanquish the deadly demon Bhashmasur and get the amrut, or elixir, for the gods. According to legend, Lord Shiva was influenced by Mohini’s charm, and their union resulted in the birth of Lord Ayyappa.
In the south, a lady demon had wreaked devastation while Lord Ayyappa was only a minor. The gods had bestowed upon her the blessing that the only person who could vanquish her would be the offspring of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. As it transpired, she was fought and defeated by Lord Ayyappa.
It was discovered that the demon was, in fact, a stunning young woman who had been cursed to live a demon’s life upon her defeat. The woman was set free by the defeat and went on to make a proposal to Lord Ayyappa.
He declined, claiming that it was his destiny to enter a forest and grant the wishes of his followers. The young woman persisted nonetheless. Thus, on the day that fresh devotees, known as Kanni-swamis, cease coming to Sabarimala to offer prayers, Lord Ayyappa vowed to marry her.
The woman consented to meet him at a nearby shrine. At a nearby temple, the woman is likewise revered today as Malikapurathamma. The tale goes on to suggest that Lord Ayyappa does not receive any menstrual women in remembrance of Malikapurathamma. Furthermore, the women decided against going to see Lord Ayyappa because they felt it would be disrespectful to Malikapurathamma’s selflessness and love.
There is an additional tale:
The alternative version claims that Lord Ayyappa is a real-life person. Born into a royal family, he was raised in the Patthanamthitta area of Kerala, in the little kingdom of Panthalam. The district where Sabarimala Temple is situated is the same.
He was raised in Panthalam Palace. The palace’s artifacts are still there. Ayyappa is reported to have developed into a charming prince who loved his followers and looked out for their welfare while ruling his kingdom.
Significance of the Sabarimala Temple
Anyone, regardless of caste, colour, or creed, is welcome to visit Sabarimala for religious purposes. Pilgrims who belong to, Shaivism and Vaishnavism, come here to worship.
During this time, devotees must observe a 40-day fast, practice full celibacy, and refrain from worldly pursuits.
The devotees apply sandal paste to their foreheads and refrain from shaving until they have returned from the shrine.
The pilgrims are easily recognized by their rudraksha mala, black or blue clothing, and rigorous no-tobacco and meat-eating rules.
Some claim that the 18 steps correspond to the 18 weapons that Lord Ayyappa used to defeat evil. Some people think that the first five steps represent the indriyas, which are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. , kama, krodha, moha, lobha, madha, matsarya, and ahamkara are represented by the following eight steps. The gunas are represented by the next three steps (satwa, rajas, and thamas). The numbers seventeen and eighteen stand for ignorance and vidhya.
The idol dedicated to Lord Ayyappa was built by Lord Parshuram.
The Sabarimala temple is thought to be the site of one of India’s biggest yearly pilgrimages.
The Sabarimala Temple’s Architecture
At an elevation of around 4133 feet, the Sabarimala temple is surrounded by mountains, thick woods, and rolling hills.
The temple’s dome is plated in gold, and it is built on a plateau that is forty feet high.
The Panchaloha element, an alloy of five metals, is used to create the idol of Lord Ayyappa. Additionally, the main temple’s roof is copper-plated.
A shrine honouring Lord Ganapati is located on the temple grounds, and as a sign of reverence, followers break coconuts in front of the goddess.
Celebrations at the Sabarimala Temple
The temple celebrates its annual celebrations from November to April. The two primary pujas performed at the temple are the Mandal and Makar Sankranti pujas. The temple receives a maximum number of visitors during this period. November 16th, 2023 is the start of the mandalpooja, and it lasts until December 27th, 2023. The seven-day Makar Sankranti puja, also known as Makaravilakku, starts on 30th Dec 2022 till 20-01-2023.
Customs at the Sabarimala Temple
Ayyappa chakram: To obtain the Lord’s blessings, one offers the ayyappa chakram at his feet. It is available from the temple counter.
Neyyabhishekam: It’s said to be the most effective method for serving God. The lord is washed in ghee that pilgrims carry inside coconuts. The temple has provisions for pilgrims travelling from different places.
Laksharchana: A group of pilgrims recite the Lord’s name one lakh times as a mantra.
Padi pooja: This particular kind of pooja is carried out on the shrine’s eighteen hallowed stairs. It is thought that whomever completes this puja would be freed from all negative consequences and achieves spiritual enlightenment. Each stage is worshipped independently.
Sahasrakalasm: In this tradition, 1000 water-filled pots consisting of brass, gold, and silver are dedicated to the deity in order to obtain benefits.
Lord Ayyappan, is the object of devotion in the temple. All religions are welcome to pilgrimage at Sabarimala, however, women between the ages of 10 and 50 were once prohibited (the Indian Supreme Court overturned this restriction), and the visit is still highly taboo today. This is because Ayyappa, being a naishtika Bramhachari (celibate), forbids the admittance of women in the menstrual age bracket.
Requirements for pilgrimages
Before ascending the hill, pilgrims must lead an austere lifestyle. This includes giving up alcohol, cigarettes, and tobacco use for 41 days, as well as refraining from eating any non-vegetarian or plant-based cuisine that contains roots. Food must only be eaten in moderation and only after taking a bath and praying. In addition, pilgrims are not allowed to have sex, shave, get a haircut, or use luxuries like fragrances, scents, silk clothing, or shoes.
What to wear
Worshippers dress in garments of black or blue. Every pilgrim carries an Irumudi-Kettu, a bag that holds rice, a banana, a coconut filled with ghee, and other items for puja. The bag is folded into two halves and worn on the head. As a sign of their devotion, all devotees are required to say “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa,” which translates to “Ayyappa is my saviour.” When someone is encountered at Sabarimala, they are all referred to as Ayyappa and should not be addressed by name.
How to reach Sabarimala?
The closest airports are Nedumbassery, 160 km away, and Thiruvananthapuram, 170 km away. Pathanamthitta – Pamba, the primary trunk route to Sabarimala, travels through Mannarakulanji, Vadasserikara, Perunad, Laha, Nilackal , and Pampa (70 km). Additionally, there are direct buses from Kumili and Ernakulam. Every major town in Kerala and the bordering states receives additional services from KSRTC on designated days when the temple is open for Poojas.
There are other ways to get to Sabarimala, including the Chalakayam, Vandiperiyar, and Erumeli paths.
Due to the belief that Ayyappan used this route to subdue the Mahishi, the journey via Erumeli is regarded as the traditional path. It’s also the hardest of the lot, involving a 61-kilometer walk through hills and forests.
Perur Thodu, roughly 4 kilometres from Erumeli, is where Ayyappa is said to have rested on his voyage. This location is significant because it denotes the beginning of the ascent or journey to Sabarimala. Pilgrims donate alms as a custom while applying for shelter at Ayyappa. Beyond Perur Thodu lies a woodland called “Poongavanam,” which translates to “Ayyappa’s garden.”
Approximately 10 miles from Perur Thodu, Kaalaketti is the next location on the traditional path. In Malayalam, “ketti” refers to binding, while “kaala” denotes ox. It is thought that while Lord Shiva was tied up here, he saw Ayyappa kill the Mahishi. At this sanctuary, pilgrims light camphor and break coconuts as they worship.
The Azhutha River, a tributary of the Pampa River, is located about 2 km from Kaalaketti. Before climbing the steep Azhutha hill, pilgrims make it a point to gather pebbles from the Azhutha river. The 2-kilometer steep, mountainous landscape is thought to be extremely difficult, causing one to lament and weep. At the top of Azhutha lies Kallidumkunnu. Pilgrims commemorate the act of tossing down Mahishi’s mortal remains by throwing the pebbles at this step.
After completing the ascent, the journey denotes the descent with Inchipparakota. Visitors pay their homage at the Kotayil Sastha shrine, located in Inchipparakota, which is devoted to Sastha. The hazardous path descent comes to an end at Karimala thodu, or the canal, which is bordered on one side by the Karimala Hill and on the other by the Azhutha Hill.
Elephants groom on the Karimala ground, while pachyderms come to drink from the Karimala canal. The pilgrims built campfires to shield themselves from the cold and animal invasion. The seven-level hill known as Karimala is traversed in phases.
The 5 km uphill is quite challenging, and throughout this portion of the journey, devotees chant “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.” There is room to relax on the level top of Karimala hill. This location’s “Nazhikkinar,” a well inside a well, has pure spring water that relieves fatigue and quenches thirst following the strenuous ascent. Prayers are offered here to a number of deities, such as Bhagawathi, Kochu Kadutha Swami, and Karimanthan.
The Pampa River is reached after a strenuous 5-kilometer descent that passes through locations like Valiyaanavattam and Cheriyaanavattam. The notion that King Rajasekhara of Pandalam discovered baby Ayyappa in Pampa is another factor contributing to the pilgrimage’s prominence to the shrine of Sabarimala.
Worshippers say that the water removes one from curses and evil, making it as sacred as the Ganges. The distance between the Pampa River valley and the Sannidhanam, the location of the sanctum sanctorum, is about 8 km. Some of the locations along the way are Saramkuthi, Appachimedu, Sabareepeedom, and Neelimala.
It’s fascinating to observe that the journey’s ascents and descents let one realize that life is full of ups and downs and that in order to reach the top, one must have courage!
Ulsavam: Celebrated annually at the Sabarimala temple, Ulsavam takes place in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April) or the Malayalam month of Meenam. During “Ulsavam,” the temple is open for business for ten days straight.
With the hanging of the temple flag, “Kodiyettam,” “Ulsavam” officially begins. Several specific poojas, such as “Ulsavabali” and “Sree Bhootha Bali,” are performed during the course of the following few days. “Pallivetta,” the ninth day of the annual celebration, is dedicated to Sree Ayyappa, who undertakes a ceremonial parade to carry out the royal hunt at Saramkuthi. The Sabarimala “Arattu,” or sacred plunge, near the Pampa River comes next.
The annual “Ulsavam” comes to an end with special poojas to commemorate “Panguni Uthram.” Sree Ayyappan’s natal star is “Uthram.”
Before arriving at Sabarimala, pilgrims using the Erumeli route pass through a number of locations. Offering prayers at the shrines of Vavar Swami and Dharma Sastha in Erumeli is the first step in the pilgrimage.
18 Sacred Steps
Situated 468 metres above mean sea level on a mountaintop, the temple is encircled by thick trees and mountains. There are temples on all the hills that encircle Sabarimala. Even though there are numerous operational and complete temples in the vicinity, such as Nilackal, Kalaketi, and Karimala, historic temple ruins may still be found on the hills that are still there. To go to the temple, devotees have to ascend the mountain range. To do this, pilgrims leave all cars at the Nilakkal parking station and walk a 4.5-mile journey through a deep forest. Doli service (palanquins) is offered to pilgrims with disabilities.
Sannidhanam, or the Sacred Abode, is the more popular name for the main temple, which is built on an elevated platform. The temple shrine is reached by 18 golden steps, each of which is revered in accordance with the Hindu Vedas and other holy texts. The ground level has two temples, one honouring Lord Ganesh and the other honouring a goddess. On the left side of the 18 golden steps is a massive fire pit where devotees are required to burn their coconuts as a sign of atoning for their transgressions.
Time to visit
The temple is open for 41 days from Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam from 16-11-2022 till 27-12-2022. The Mandala journey comes to a close with the lavish celebrations of Makara Sankrathi. Aside from this period of pilgrimage, the temple is open on the first and second day each Malayalam month. Given the intense rush, the second route is preferable for tourists than the Mandala pilgrimage.
Timeless Bonds of Harmony at Vavar Mosque
The mosque is named for the Muslim friend of Sabarimala’s presiding deity Ayyappa. The custom of Ayyappa’s devotees is to offer prayers at the Erumely mosque, which is also called Ninar mosque, before proceeding to the temple, which is located approximately 40 kilometres away in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The mosque is positioned between the large Valiyambalam temple and the smaller Cheriyambalam temple, two Ayyappa shrines.
Vavar is a significant figure in the story of Sabarimala. The story goes He assisted Ayyappa in defeating Mahishi, the demon princess, at Erumely. After winning, Ayyappa urged Vavar to remain at Erumely and then departed for Sabarimala. Afterwards, he instructed his devotees to visit Vavar before travelling to see him in Sabarimala.
Main pujas and offerings
The primary prayers are performed on the first and last days of the Mandalam pilgrimage, as well as on Makara Sankrathi day, when the greatest number of pilgrims gather. The Mandalam pilgrimage takes place throughout the 10-day yearly celebration. Four pujas are performed every day and are regarded as extremely sacred in addition to special day pujas. The Padi Puja (special pujas performed on 18 holy steps at temple closure in the evening), Abishekam (pouring libations), Usha Puja (morning puja), and Ucha Puja (afternoon puja). As a sign of devotion, the temple is also well-known for lighting the most camphors.
Abishekams are the primary, hallowed offering to the lord. Neyyu-Abishekams, or the pouring of ghee, are extremely sacred and are performed using ghee that is brought by all devotees in their Irumudi Kettus. Similarly, there will be Pushabishekam (pouring of flowers) and Bhasma Absihekam (pouring of ash) in the evenings, which will all be given to devotees. The majority of devotees purchase the thick, sweet black confection called Aravana, made of jaggery, and the sweet dumplings known as appam, which are also frequent offerings.
Malayidal: The sensory test is the main focus of a visit to Sabarimala. It is expected of pilgrims to live a straightforward, austere life known as “Vrutham” in order to successfully complete the journey.
The ideal beginning of “Vrutham” is the day the pilgrim wears a chain, called a “mala” in Malayalam, signifying their resolve to practice restraint. In local slang, this ceremony is referred to as “Malayideel.”
The devotee may wear Sree Ayyappan’s locket on a bead chain. The devotee is required to live a life devoid of material pleasures once the chain is worn.
Moreover, vices like drinking alcohol and smoking are strictly prohibited. In addition, the pilgrim must live a life free from the marital life.
Moreover, vices like drinking alcohol and smoking are strictly prohibited. In addition, the pilgrim must live a life free from marriage.
According to religious customs, the Mala must be received following prayers from a temple priest or a Guru Swami, who is a person who has made the entire 18-day trip to Sabarimala.
As an alternative, the Mala might be worn in one’s own house or in a prayer room.
Once the pilgrimage is over, the Mala may be removed.
Mandala Vrutham: Mandala Vrutham refers to the austerities observed for a Mandala, or 41 days, by Lord Ayyappa’s disciples and devotees.
It is necessary to lead a simple, devout life free from all vices throughout the “Vrutham” time. The beginning of the “Vrutham” is signified by wearing the mala. Wearing the Mala on a Saturday or on the day of Uthram, the auspicious astrological sign is something that devotees think about doing. Sree Ayyappan’s natal star is Uthram.
The purpose of the 41-day “Vrutham” course is to instill healthy habits and discipline in yourself. It all comes down to developing positive habits over time through a mix of prayer and self-control.
It is advised to wear black during the “Vruthum” time since the colour symbolizes a separation from worldly possessions. It is not permitted to cut nails, shave facial hair, or cut hair.
Kettunirakkal: This custom involves packing and preparing “Irumudi kettu” for the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. It is created with guru swamy’s assistance. The 18 sacred stairs leading up to the temple can only be ascended by those who wear the Irumudi kettu on their heads, as they are the only ones who are thought to have followed the austerities and are hence qualified to ascend the steps.
To enter the sanctum sanctorum and worship, other devotees must use an alternate route.
Following the opening prayers of the Kettunira, a coconut with its fibrous covering removed is used to hold the sacred offering of ghee, or clarified cow’s butter.
It is a symbolic act to empty the coconut’s contents—a tiny opening at the top—and fill it with ghee. It represents emptying the mind of materialistic attachments and replenishing it with ambitions of a spiritual nature. In Malayalam, a coconut is referred to as a “thenga.” Today, the ghee-filled coconut that is offered to Lord Ayyappa is termed a “neyy-thenga.”
The neyy-thenga and other holy offerings to Lord Ayyappa and the associated deities shall first be placed inside the bag’s front section. Now fasten the front compartment shut with a cord. It is said that the front compartment is full with spiritual force. Then, a few broken coconuts are placed into the other compartment.
Petta Thullal: Petta Thullal, the ceremonial sacred dance that heralds the start of the last stage of the yearly Sabarimala pilgrimage season, celebrates the triumph of good over evil in the mythology of Lord Ayyappa, who killed the demon princess Mahishi.
The Ambalappuzha squad usually performs Petta Thullal first.
Around noon, the group of over a thousand devotees, led by Kochambalam at the Petta intersection, sees the kite in the sky, and they begin the ceremonial dance. The group will do a dance performance as they enter the Nainar mosque located across the street to honour Vavar, Lord Ayyappa’s dependable lieutenant.
The leaders of the Erumeli Mahallu Jamaat committee will formally welcome them. They will then go with them to the Sree Dharma Sastha Temple (Valiambalam), which is over a kilometer away, where the Ambalappuzha team and the Jamaat leaders will be received by representatives of the Travancore Devaswom Board.
After spotting the star in the daylight sky, the Alangad team starts their ceremonial dance in the afternoon. The two teams would go to Pampa to compete in the Pampa Sadya and then in the Makaravilaku festival at the Sannidhanam following an overnight stay at the Valiambalam.
In addition to offering a spiritual experience, Sabarimala is located in a very hilly area in the middle of an evergreen forest. You can thus enjoy all the forest’s beauties in Sabarimala.
Walk up the mountain on a trek. Begin at Plapalli, move on to Aangaamuzhi, Muzhiyaar, and lastly Sabarigiri Road.
Free food is provided to devotees by governmental and non-governmental organizations during all pilgrimage seasons.
The government agencies also offer the following food items in exchange for cash payments.
Andhra-Style Dinners. White rice served with appadam, pachadis, podis, and spiced pickles.
Appam Aravana. Unique to Sabarimala, these little dumplings are dark brown in colour
Payasam Aravana. Rice, ghee, and jaggery are combined to make a temple dessert.
Lunch in Kerala style. Brown rice served with pickles, sambal, rasam, moru, aviyal, and Thoran.
Masala Dosai. a fermented pancake consisting of potatoes, onions, black lentils and rice batter
Vegetable Biriyani. Ghee, spices, and veggies are cooked with rice.
Alcohol is not allowed at all.
Buttermilk, Milma Sambharam, pickles, lentils, and porridge
Since devotees are required to lead a simple and austere life during the pilgrimage period, the sleep facilities given for them may not be sufficient for tourists. For average travellers accustomed to comforts, these austerities—such as walking without shoes and sleeping without mattresses—can be challenging.
Sabarimala Virtual Q Ticket Reservations
Sabarimala Virtual Q Ticket Reservations Online @ Sabarimalaonline.org till 2023
Sabarimalaonline.org: Effective Ways to Reserve 2023 Sabarimala Virtual Q Ticket Darshan Ticket Online
The magnificent, sacred, and exquisite Sree Sabarimala Temple is home to Lord Ayyappan (Dharma Shasta). The temple has the honour of being situated in a breathtaking natural setting that draws tourists from all over the world. Within the Periyar Tiger Reserve, on a hilltop 4,000 feet above sea level, sits the Sabarimala Temple. The state of Kerala is home to the prestigious temple where millions of worshippers come to honour and receive blessings from Lord Ayyappan. It is claimed that the god Ayyappan is the holy son of Lord Shiva and Mohini (Vishnu).
Transformation of the Digital Sabarimala Temple
Thousands of millions of people visit the Sabarimala shrine every year during significant festivals. The enormous quantity makes management difficult and necessitates digital tracking. A digital system was created by the Travancore Devaswom Board to assist in managing the temple rituals and devotees.
Through the official website gateway of the Sabarimala temple, pilgrims can make online reservations for Prasadam and Darshan tickets (Virtual Q). Festivals and ceremonies like Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku, and Vishu are held at the temple. During the 41 days of Vratham, devotees can also purchase tickets to participate in rites such as Ulsavam, Malayidal, Mandala Vrutham, Kettunirakkal, Petta Thullal, and the Traditional Path.
Online reservations reduce lengthy lines, traffic, and paperwork. When visiting a temple, devotees are asked to reserve their tickets in advance and bring identification. Reservations for rooms can be made with ease on the official website.
How to Sign Up for Darshan at Sabarimala?
How to Register on the Sabarimala Temple Website?
Access the Sabarimala Temple website.
The online registration link will appear on the homepage when it opens.
To access the registration page, click and fill out the information:
- Phone number
- Date of birth
Input the ID number and press the document proving your identity.
Create your chosen login password next, then click “Continue” to finish.
After providing your email address and password, click the agreement link. Before submitting the information, make sure you have read the terms and conditions.
Once a recent photo has been uploaded, click the submit button.
An OTP will be sent by the system to your email address or registered mobile number.
To complete the application form, input the code.
In order for the user to finish the registration procedure, the page will check the information.
Login to: Sabarimala Online.org
The Sabarimala portal login process, step-by-step (sabarimalaonline.org)
Check out the Sabarimala temple’s official website.
/#/login to SabarimalaOnline.org
To access the account, enter your password and email ID.
To process and open different online services, click the login tab.
Choose “virtual Q online” and proceed to the visitor’s personal information.
The application form will open; provide the necessary information, such as:
- Mobile number
- Date of birth
- ID proof
After that, select the “Submit” option and upload the visitor’s passport photo.
Users can add up to five visitors to the page with a single ID.
Once you’ve reviewed the data, proceed with the download.
The virtual voucher will appear on the page; download it to obtain a copy.
Using the same process, a single Virtual Q ticket can also be booked.
Check Availability of Sabarimala Virtual Queue Slots for 2023
Step-by-step instructions for scheduling Sabarimala Virtual Q in 2023–2024
There aren’t many open slots because of the large amount of enthusiasts. To secure your desired day, it is advisable to purchase your ticket in advance. The procedures listed below can be used to check for availability via the Sabarimala website.
Navigate to the official website and provide your login details.
To open a new page, select the virtual Q option.
Select the desired visitation date from the calendar. On the other hand, the dates highlighted in green are free; the dates highlighted in red are already reserved.
To proceed, pick a time window and select a date from the green list.
To reserve your virtual Q coupon, go up to the Sabarimala portal and select a time and date slot.
From November 16, 2023, to December 27, 2023, virtual Q tickets and tokens are available for the Mandala Pooja.
It is not necessary to book a virtual Q ticket for children under five.
At Sabarimala Temple as well as other temples like Pamba, Nilakkal, and Erumely, pilgrims can get Annadanam.
All pilgrims are free to use Annadanam.
A devotee can contact the Travancore Devaswom Board support desk with any questions they may have.
Children and devotees between the ages of five and eighteen may show their school identity cards.
Sabarimala Temple Calendar Dates 2023-2024
Mandala Pooja Maholsavam 16/11/2023 Till 27/12/2023
Makaravilakku Festival 30/12/2023 Till 20/01/2024
Makaravilakku Day 15/01/2024
- What kinds of documents are acceptable for use as identification proof?
Ans: As identification documentation, the user may present a voter ID, PAN card, Aadhaar card, or DL.
- What email address do I use to contact the assistance desk of Sabarimala Temple?
Ans: Pilgrims can contact email@example.com if they need any assistance.