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The Sabarimala temple and the legend

The Story of Lord Ayyappa

          Lord Shiva granted a boon to an Asura: He was given the powers to reduce to ashes anyone he touched. The Asura turns against Shiva. Shiva runs to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu assumes the form of a beautiful woman, Mohini. The Asura falls for her. As a precondition to marriage, Mohini wants him to dance with her for once. He forgets everything and dances like her, placing his hand on his own head. The Asura is no more. Lord Shiva himself is fascinated by Mohini and weds her. Hariharaputra is born. The baby is abandoned. The childless King of Pandala who came hunting in the forest takes the baby to his palace. Named Ayyappa, he grows up as the king's adopted son. Then the king has a son of his own. However, the king wants to name Ayyappa as the heir to the throne. The queen, wanting to get rid of him, sends him to the forest to bring leopard milk she claims as the only cure for her pretended stomach pain. To everyone's horror, Ayyappa brings not just the milk but also a pack of leopards to the palace for all future use! The queen apologises. The son of god shoots an arrow. Wherever it falls will be His abode, he said so. It fell on Sabari hills. Every year since, the believers go in pilgrimage to Sabarimala (mala means hill) in Dec-Jan.

Rules & Regulations: An Ayyappa pilgrim is called Ayyappa Swamy. One has to stick to a disciplined, austere life of abstinence for 41 days to proceed to the temple. Should be strictly vegetarian. No smoking. Wear a type of black cloth and a rudraksha mala. No hair cut. Go barefoot. A pilgrim carries an irumudikkettu, a cloth bag divided into two by a knot at the middle, that helps to balance the weight of pooja items he carries. They have to trek long distances in the hills.At the temple there are 18 vertical steps one has to climb for darshan of the idol. They are called Pathinettam Padi (Eighteen Step). Girls/women of 10-50 years are not allowed temple darshan.

Sri Chithira Atta Thirunal
Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam
Mandala Pooja
Makaravilakku Festival
Monthly Pooja (Kumbham)
Monthly Pooja (Meenam)
Painguni Utsavam
Meda Vishu Festival
Meda Vishu Darshanam
Monthly Pooja (Edavam)
Prathishta Dinam
Monthly Pooja (Mithunam)
Monthly Pooja (Karkitakom)
Monthly Pooja (Chingam)
Monthly Pooja (Kanni)
Monthly Pooja (Thulam)


(The Sabarimala temple and the legend)

The pilgrims keep chanting 'Swamiye Saranamayyappa, Dharmasasthave Saranamayyappa' in praise of the Sastha deity

For travel sites in Kerala click on the following links

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) , Kovalm Beach, Kumarakom Backwaters, Kochi (Cochin), Periyar-Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, Munnar, Malabar, Bekal Fort

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