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Sabarimala temple is one of the most well-known and revered shrine nestled in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala. Cuddled by 18 beautiful hills and dense forest of Western Ghats, the sanctified temple is an important spiritual centre for numerous people who visit the temple from farthest corner of India and world as well. It is estimated that approximately 5 crore devotees visit Sabarimala Ayyappa temple every year.
Mythological Beliefs and History : It is deemed that in Treta-Yug, the sage Shabri who lived here and did rigorous reparation with the purpose of meeting Lord Rama. Soon, the place was visited by Lord Ram and his brother Lakshman. Lord Ram ate berries given by Shabri at this place. Shabri died at this place and after her death, the mountain got the name Shabrimala. It is also said that the presiding deity of Sabarimala temple, Lord Ayyappa was born with the unification of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Another belief said that Mahishi demon living in Sabarimala region was consecrated that she could be killed by someone who was born with the union of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The two branches of Hinduism that is Vaishnavism and Shaivism come mutually in the form of Lord Ayyappa.About Sabarimala Temple
Sabarimala temple is one of the most remote holy places in southern India yet it attracts numerous devotees every year. The dome of Sabarimala is casted with gold. In the vicinity of shrine, one can visit temple devoted to Vavar (Muslim by religion), who was a fervent follower of Lord Ayyappa. That is why it is also said that a trip to Sabarimala is incomplete without visiting Lord Vavar. From Sabarimala temple, devotees can also see Makara Vilakku that is another consecrated light situated nearby hill. It is believed that this light symbolizes the presence of divine being. The best part about shrine is it is open to people from all color, creed, caste and religion.Rules to be followed before entering in Sabarimala Temple
Taking a tour to Sabarimala is not feasible for every human being. There are certain rules that need to be followed before planning to visit the hallowed place of worship. An individual who wish to visit the temple is supposed to live life like an abstinent for 41 days. One necessitates to maintain rigorous discipline like abstemiousness from smoking, alcohol and other luxuries of life. Devotees have to follow a 41 day Vratham. During this time period one needs to walk on the path of celibacy and must perform regular prayers. Women who are in menopausal stage and young girls who have not yet reached to puberty age can pay a visit to Sabarimala.
Additionally, before starting the spiritual tour, devotes take a ritual bath in hallowed river ‘Pamba’ that is supposed to wash away the sins of a person. The shrine has 18 steps that are covered with gold; every step symbolizes various features of human nature like anger, happiness, intelligence, the five senses etc. It is believed that devotees who climb all the steps attain “Punyadarshanam”. Devotees carry traditional offerings like camphor, ghee, sweets and coconut filled with ghee on their heads. When they reach to the steps of temple, they break the coconut and move ahead to get the mesmerizing glance of Lord Ayyappa.Sabarimala Festival
Sabarimala is a popular pilgrim place of Kerala. The shrine receives a good flow of devotees on its annual festival when devotees complete asceticism from materialistic affairs. The grand festival is celebrated during the months of November to mid January. Makar Sankranti and Mandal Puja are the two main festivals celebrated during this time period. Makar Sankranti is regarded as the most auspicious day of the scared temple.A quick look over some prominent facts
How to reach Sabarimala
By Air- Cochin (200kms) and Trivandrum (170 kms) are the two airports that are located near to the shrine.
By Rail- The closest railway station to reach temple is at Chengannur and Kottayam.
By Road- The sanctified place is well-connected by extensive road networks to other major cities of Kerala.