At an altitude of about 4,134 feet above sea level, the grand temple of Sabarimala is situated in the Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. In the locality of the temple, also known as Poonakavanam, you will witness 18 mountains and each one of these mountains has different names. Sabarimala is one of these 18 mountains where the temple of Lord Ayyappa is located. One of the holiest rivers in India, Pamba River originates from these mountains and this where the pilgrims of the Lord Ayyappa take a holy dip before proceeding to go inside the temple for “darshan”.
Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple, the erstwhile soil of Sree Ayyappa, is a prominent religious spot in Southern India. A huge number of pilgrims come from all over India and seek holy blessings from Lord Ayyappa. Along with natural beauty surrounding the temple, it offers devotees an immensely spiritual experience.
Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple is one of the most popular temples in South India. The presiding god of the temple, Lord Ayyappa is said to be sanctified by Lord Parasurama (the well-known creator of Kerala) at the foothill of Sabari Hills. In fact, Ramayana too has a reference to the popular Sabarimala temple. This temple is additionally renowned for its religious accord and the Vavar Thara present in the premises of this holy destination is an excellent example of it. Vavar is said to be a Sufi saint who was a friend of Sree Ayyappa. Vavar is a sub-deity in the Sabarimala temple and pilgrims offer their prayers to him as well. Devotees irrespective of their caste, religion, or wealth visit this temple of Sabarimala to offer their prayers. In view of the fact that all the devotees are alike in front of the Lord, they address each other as Ayyappa or Swamy. The Lord Ayyappa’s devotees of the climb the 18 holy steps that lead to the temple every year after undergoing strict penance and focusing on chanting Sree Ayyappa’s name all through the penance period. In addition, they need to keep fasting and observe all the rules of the “vrutham”.
Prior to reaching the 18 holy steps, the devotees walk through thick forests, over grand mountains and rivers carrying their “irumudikkettu”, fearing neither bird nor animal. These devotees carry “irumudikkettu‘” or the of bag sins on their head throughout their journey to the temple. They march ahead while chanting Lord's name, trusting their lives to Sree Ayyappa, who they trust would protect them whenever required.
Worship Timings at the Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple:
The Sabarimala temple is only open to devotees for worship during the time of Mandalapooja (roughly between 15th November and 26th December), "Makar Sankranti" or Makara vilakku (14th January) and Maha Vishu Sankranti (14th April), and also the first 5 days of every Malayalam month.
Below is the worship calendar for 2018:
Makaravilakku Day 14/01/2018
Monthly Pooja – Kumbham 12/02/2018 5 pm, 17/02/2018 10 pm
Monthly Pooja – Meenam 14/03/2018 5 pm, 19/03/2018 10 pm
Sabarimala Utsavam 20/03/2018 5pm, 30/03/2018 10pm
Panguni Uthiram & Arattu 30/03/2018
Vishu Festival 10/04/2018 5 pm, 18/04/2018 10 pm
Monthly Puja – Edavam 14/05/2018 5 pm, 19/05/2018 10 pm
Idol Installation Puja 24/05/2018 5 pm, 25/05/2018 10 pm
Monthly Pooja – Midhunam 14/06/2018 5 pm, 19/06/2018 10 pm
Monthly Pooja – Karkkidakam 16/07/2018 5 pm, 21/07/2018 10 pm
Monthly Pooja – Chingam 16/08/2018 5 pm, 21/08/2018 10 pm
Onam Pooja 23/08/2018 5 pm, 27/08/2018 10 pm
Onam Day 24/08/2018
Monthly Pooja – Kanni 16/09/2018 5 pm, 21/09/2018 10 pm
Monthly Puja – Thulam 16/10/2018 5 pm, 21/10/2018 10 pm
Lord Chithra Atta Thirunal 05/11/2018 5 pm, 06/11/2018 10 pm
Mandala Puja Maholsavam 16/11/2018 5 pm, 27/12/2018 10 pm
Madala Pooja 27/12/2018
Thirunada reopens during Makaravilakku 30/12/2018 5 pm
Please Note: Sabarimala temple normally opens at 05 am and closes at 10 pm. For the duration of the peak periods like Makara Vilakku Festival, the timings may be changed to provide accommodation the huge number of pilgrims.
Nearby Railway Stations:
Dress code/rules to be followed at the temple:
· The devotees, known as “Ayyappans” are dressed fully in black. They walk in a cohesive manner through the dense woods carrying the “irumudikkettu’ while chanting Lord Ayyappa’s name, and the lord showers his divine blessings on them.
· The Devotees don’t shave or cut hair until the termination of the pilgrimage and put Vibhuti (sandal paste) on their foreheads.
· The most amazing fact about Sabarimala Temple is that people from all caste, creed, and religions are welcome here and Lord Ayyappa would bless any person who visits with his name on their lips.