Updated May 26, 2023
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. The Sabarimala Shree Dharma Sastha Temple holds a prominent position among the temples of South India. 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.
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 comprised 18 verses. Hence, the Sabarimala 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 encompasses several holy shrines. Firstly, the main sanctum is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, the revered Hindu deity. Adjacent to the main sanctum is the shrine of Nagarajav, and nearby, there is a separate shrine honoring Vavarunada, a Muslim saint and devotee of Lord Ayyappa. The Sabarimala pilgrimage highlights the significance of his devotion and underscores the message of communal harmony as Lord Ayyappa embraces people of all faiths under his divine grace. A shrine dedicated to Malikapurathamma, also known as “Adiparasakhti,” holds great significance for the pilgrims. Devotees offer prayers to Malikapurathamma as one of the essential upadevathas (sub-deities) at Sabarimala.
The devotees consider the eighteen steps in the Sabarimala temple as 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.
Sabarimala Temple is open only for part of the year. Devotees can access the temple on specific days known as 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 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.