About Sabarimala Temple
Our country prides itself on diverse cultures, traditions, religions, and values. The appealing part is that each culture has its unique beauty. The temples are a vital part of our rich culture. They unravel the beauty of our cultures in beautiful ways. Every temple speaks its glory. One of the temples is Sabarimala Temple. One of the most prominent temples of South India is also known as Sabarimala Shree Dharma Sastha Temple. The tale of the temple tells that King Rajasekara laid the foundation of the Sabarimala temple on the advice of saint Agasthya. On the day of Makarsankantri, the king installed the deity figure of Lord Ayyappa in the temple. The tales say Lord himself sent Parasuraman to carve the stone for the holy idol.
(Image Credit: Sabarimala)
Location and History of the Temple
The temple is present amidst nature’s scenic beauty. The temple is on a hilltop of about 3000 feet above sea level. It solely dedicates to Lord Ayyappa, whose location is in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. It is the epitome of religious and spiritual harmony. The majestic marvel of Kerala was built in sync with Mahabharata and Bhagavad Gita. The Mahabharata war lasted 18 days, and Bhagavad Geeta consists of 18 verses. Hence, the Sabrimala temple has 18 steps and 18 hills around it. The ancient shrine came into existence in the Pandalam dynasty. According to the tales, the prince of the dynasty meditated at the temple have become one with God. He is also known to be an avatar of Sastha.
The divine temple covers many holy shrines. Firstly, the main sanctum is for Lord Ayyappa, the Hindu deity. Adjacent to the main sanctum is the deity of Nagarajav. There is also a shrine dedicated to the devotee of Lord Ayyappa, Vavarunada. He was a Muslim saint. The Sabarimala pilgrimage highlights his devotion. It also emphasizes communal harmony and how Lord Ayyappa took people of all faith under his divinity. Another shrine is of Malikapurathamma, also known as “Adiparasakhti,” for the pilgrims. Devotees pray Malikapurathamma as one of the essential upadevatha in Sabarimala.
The eighteen steps in the Sabarimala temple are considered holy. Just to the right of that steps is the shrine present of Karuppu Swami & Karuppai Amma, and they both helped Lord Ayyappa to fulfill his divine mission. On the left side of the holy steps is a shrine of Valiya Kadutha Swami. Lastly, Mel Ganapathi’s shrine is adjacent to the main sanctum of Lord Ayyappa.
(Image Credit: Sabarimala)
Sabarimala Temple is open only for part of the year. It is available for devotees on certain days called Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku, and Vishu. It is also open on the first day of every Malayalam month. The lesser-known fact about the temple is that people going for worship at the temple have to observe a 41 – day celibacy.
The temple is 4 km away from Pamba. Visitors can take forest routes or routes via Pamba to reach the temple. Millions of devotees from all castes and religions come to the temple with irumudis and garlands. They bathe in the holy river of Pamba and then reach the 18 sacred steps to worship Lord Ayyapa. They take three-eyed coconut, food, and garlands in their head while heading towards the temple. This ritual dates back to when the Lord went to the forest to get tigress milk, bathe in the Pamba river, and climb 18 steps. After that, the tradition is ongoing. The temple is full of mesmerizing and high-spirited chants of the tributes of Lord Ayyappa.
When the idol of God shifts in the newly created Sabarimala temple, the Lord himself says to the king, “the River Pampa is as sacred as River Ganga, Sabarimala is as holy as Kasi.” The temple stands true to these words and their divinity. Undoubtedly, it is one of the holiest pilgrimages in India today.