Sabarimala Temple is one of the important religious centers where a large number of devotees flock on an annual basis to offer their prayers and seek grace. The Sabarimala festival is celebrated every year to worship Lord Ayyappa. It is a pilgrimage tour where everyone gathers irrespective of their religion and caste. One can also see many foreign nationals on the occasion of the Sabarimala Festival as well. Sabarimala Festival lasts from November to the month of January.
History of Sabarimala Temple
According to history and tales of the past, it is said that, even after the temple was completed, it remained mostly unreachable by the locals for a period of about 3 consecutive centuries. Then in the 9th century, it is believed that there was a prince named Manikandan of the Pandalam dynasty who rediscovered the path to reach this place.
It is said that while doing so, he had many followers along with him which were inclusive of the descendants of Vavar as well. It is known that Vavar was a Muslim warrior who was defeated by Manikandan in a battle.
Major Attractions of Sabarimala Festival
1. Decoration of Temples
With the onset of the Sabarimala Festival, the local temples are beautifully decorated along with the idol of Lord Ayappa which is adorned with dazzling jewellery brought from Pandalam Palace in a procession. Prayers are devotedly offered to God by the pilgrims coming from all around the country. Devotees chant swamiye saranam Ayyappa and wait for hours in the queues before darshan.
2. Flag Hoisting
The festival is marked with ceremonial flag-hoisting at the temple of Lord Ayyappa. Devotees in thousands of numbers throng here to witness the one-of-a-kind ceremony. The flag is brought down by the Tantri when the procession ends at Sannidhanam.
3. Inclusive of Other Festivals
The Sabarimala Festival is inclusive of Makara Vilakku Festival, along with the Mandala Puja Festival. The former festival includes a procession and congregation of devotees at the shrine of Sabarimala. Moving to the Mandala Puja, it is a very important ritual that marks the end of the 41-day long austerity that is known as Mandala Kalam.
4. Unique Rituals of Devotees
Before starting in their pilgrimage, devotees undergo a lot of penance. Irrespective of colour, caste, and creed, they all come together for the Sabarimala darshan. They carry on their heads rice, camphor, coconuts filled with ghee, all wrapped up in a cloth bundle. Earlier women in the menstrual age were not allowed inside the temple before the Supreme Court's order that was passed in 2018.
How to Reach
Pathanamthitta district is a beautiful district situated in southern Kerala. Don't miss this one out if you want to explore something substantially interesting. The district is situated at an approximate distance of 2,809, 1,622, 2,362, and 632 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Here is how you can plan on travelling here via the following means of transportation.
A good option to reach the Pathanamthitta district is via flight if budget is not a huge issue. For this, you will need to take a flight to Trivandrum airport. It is well-connected with most of the other Indian cities like Delhi, Pune, Mumbai. After getting off the airport, you will need to cover the remaining distance via cab or some other means of transportation.
You can also travel via road to reach the Pathanamthitta district. Nothing can actually beat the experience of travelling at your own pace and enjoying the journey with your loved ones. You can either book a bus, a cab or if the budget allows then also consider travelling via your own vehicle.
The nearest railway station is Chengannur which is located at a distance of about 28 km (approx) from this district. This train station is well connected with many other Indian cities like Delhi and Pune. Some good options would be Kanyakumari Express and Kerala Express. From there, you can easily avail buses and taxis to reach this place.