Sabarimala Temple is located in the Pathanamthitta district surrounded by the Sahyadri ranges in the state of Kerala. Sabarimala Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples in South India. Thousands and thousands of devotees visit this temple every year. There is a place called Pampa at a distance of 175 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. One has to travel on foot from Pampa to Sabarimala. This route is five kilometers long. Hindu celibate Ayyappan is the deity of the Sabarimala Temple. The Periyar Tiger Reserve has a dense forest around the Sabarimala Temple.
Sabarimala is a confluence of Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, and other traditions. ‘Sabarimala’ in Malayalam means ‘mountain’. There is a temple in each of the hills located around Sabarimala, to see which people from all corners of the country come here.
Lord Ayyappa is believed to be the son of Lord Shankar and Mohini. Lord Vishnu is called Hari and Shiva is called Har, hence Lord Ayyappa is also known as Harihara on this basis. It is believed that the Sabarimala temple was built thousands of years ago by King Rajasekhar. King Rajasekhara met Lord Ayyappa in child form on the banks of the Pampa River and brought him to his palace.
After this, the queen gave birth to a son in the palace, but since the king considered Lord Ayyappa as his son, he first wanted to hand over the kingdom to Ayyappa, but the queen did not approve. On the pretext of her health, the queen sent Ayyappa to the forest to get the milk of the lioness. In the forest, Ayyappa killed a demonic being pleased with this Indra sent the lioness to the palace with Ayyappa. People were very surprised to see this. When the father asked Ayyappa to become the king, he refused and disappeared from the palace. After a long time, Lord Ayyappa appeared to his father and asked him to build a temple at that place. After which King Rajasekhar got the Sabarimala Temple built there.
Significance of Sabarimala Temple
There are many features of this temple, due to which devotees from every corner of the country reach this temple for darshan. Let us know some interesting facts about the Sabarimala Temple.
If you have not visited the Sabarimala temple, then let us tell you that before going to this temple, one must take a bath in the Pampa River and then enter the temple only after lighting a lamp and making it flow in the river.
Sabari Mala temple is not open throughout the year like other temples. Rather, Sabarimala Temple remains open for devotees only from November to January, after which it is closed.
Ghee consecrated in every worship of the Lord in this temple. The devotees who take the ghee to the temple are deposited in a special vessel and then Lord Ayyappa anointed with this ghee.
The specialty of Sabarimala temple that it a temple that attracts two to five crore people visit every year.
This temple built between 18 hills and its specialty that the temple is situated on each hill.
Let us tell you that the 18 steps of Sabarimala are very famous. Of these, the first five steps represent the five senses of a person, eight steps for human emotions, and three steps for human qualities, while the last two steps represent knowledge and ignorance.
Rules of Sabarimala Temple
This temple is quite different from other temples in India. Lord Ayyappa established in this temple was celibate, so for centuries only male devotees visit this temple to have darshan. The rules of Sabarimala temple are also very strict as compared to other temples, so devotees must follow all the rules to enter the temple.
Devotees who want to visit must observe fasting for 41 days to reach the Sabarimala temple. Since women not able to complete this fast due to periods, they are not allowed to enter the temple. But men must come to the temple only after completing this fast.
Devotees have to climb 18 holy steps to enter the temple and these stairs climbed only by those who have completed 41 days of hard fasting.
While climbing the 18 steps of Sabarimala Temple, devotees have to break a coconut filled with ghee near the stairs. One piece of coconut put in the Havan Kund while the other piece taken by the devotees as prasad.
Before going to the temple, Sabarimala pilgrims should wear blue or wear black clothes. He cannot shave his beard and mustache until the journey is over.
Every devotee has to apply sandalwood paste on his forehead during the Sabarimala pilgrimage.
Apart from this, after bathing in the Pampa River, one has to worship Ganapati and then proceed toward the temple.
The devotees have to chant the Tat Tva Asi Mantra while entering this temple. The meaning of this mantra is – it is you.
Why Sabarimala Temple is in Controversy
Let us tell you that the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years banned in the Sabarimala temple of Kerala. This belief was going on for a long time in this 800-year-old temple. Lord Ayyappa believed to be unmarried and in Hinduism women during periods considered ‘unholy’ due to which they not allowed to enter this temple. However, on 28 September 2018, the Supreme Court declared the ban on the entry of women unconstitutional and discriminatory. On 2 January 2019, two women below the age of fifty years offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple for the first time since the Supreme Court’s decision.
How To Reach Sabarimala
Let us tell you that there is no means available to reach the Sabarimala temple directly. After reaching the place called Pampa by bus, one has to walk to Sabarimala temple. The road is a bit difficult and the animals are also at risk due to the hills and Periyar Sanctuary around the temple. Let us know how to reach Sabarimala here.
How To Reach Sabarimala Temple By Air
The nearest airport to Sabarimala is Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. This airport connected to New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Kolkata. After reaching here you can take a bus or train to Pampa Bahu which is 104 km away from Kochi airport.
How To Reach Sabarimala By Bus
KSRTC has started a bus service from Pampa to Coimbatore, Palani, and Thenkasi for the convenience of Sabarimala pilgrims. In addition, buses to Pampa operated by the governments of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Through these buses, you can reach Sabarimala.
How To Reach Sabarimala By Train
The nearest station to Sabarimala is Chengannur and Kottayam which connected by road to Pampa. Tourists can reach Kottayam, Ernakulam, or Chengannur by train, then reach Pampa by bus and then walk to Sabarimala.
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