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Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala TempleOverview
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.

Legends Associated
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.
Nearby Attractions
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?
By Air
The international Airport of Thiruvananthapuram is 115 km away whereas the Cochin International Airport is 106 km away.

By Rail
Kottayam and Chengannur are the nearest railway stations.

By Road
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 the temple.

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