It's not easy to visit the Sabarimala Temple for several reasons, yet this
very fact attracts the devotees all the more for they believe these
difficulties are there only to test their devotion towards Lord Ayappa.
There is a specific period for which the temple is open to the public
from November 15 to January 19. It is located on the Sahyadri mountains at
the height of 950 meters and is surrounded by forests all around. There are
18 hills around all of which have a temple at the top the remnants of which
can be seen from the Sabarimala Temple. The fact that makes this temple
unique is that followers of every faith are allowed to visit this temple
though the women are not allowed in.
The temple has been constructed as per the directions given by Lord Ayappa
himself. The holy ladder of 18 steps which leads to heaven is protected by
the faithful lieutenants of the Lord Ayappa, Vavur and Kadutha. The image of
Lord Ayappa is built of an alloy comprising five metals known as Panchaloha.
There is a temple tank in the temple complex where the devotees take a holy
dip to remember Sabari.
It is said that the King Rajsekhara of the Pandya dynasty, who ruled over
the state of Pandalam, was very worried for the fact that he was childless
and that there was nobody there to succeed him. One fine day, he found a
child in the forests near the Pamba river. The king took the child to his
palace and brought him up as his son. After 12 years, the king discovered
that the child was actually the incarnation of Dhramsastha. It was in the
memory of the incarnation after he left for the Devlok that the present
temple was built. It is believed that Lord Ayappa meditated at the site
where the present temple is built after killing the demon Mahishi.
The Pilgrimage Route
Paying obeisance to Lord Ayappa is difficult as the routes through which
you reach the temple are arduous and you'll have to make your way through
the dense forests of the Sahyadri mountains. You'll need about 3 days to
reach the temple from the base of the hill. Those on a pilgrimage to the
place need to maintain strict discipline as they have to observe fast for
forty days, celibacy and daily prayer rituals. They are also not allowed to
cut their hair and nails during the period.
The temple stands out in the aspect that it allows people of every faith to
visit the temple and worship Lord Ayappa. Vavur, who was a faithful
lieutenant of Lord Ayappa was a Muslim and there is a shrine devoted to him
nearby, known as Vavur's Shrine. People who visit the Sabarimala temple also
worship at the shrine of Vavur.
How to Reach?
The international Airport of Thiruvananthapuram is 115 km away whereas the
Cochin International Airport is 106 km away.
Kottayam and Chengannur are the nearest railway stations.
You can reach Pamba through Chalakkayam which is the most comfortable route
to reach the temple. The transportation facilities are provided up to Pamba
after which the devotees have to walk on foot for five km before they reach