Sabarimala temple is most sacred place in Kerala where Ayyappa Swamy is devoted. Many rules and regulations were considered as mandatory to be followed by those pilgrims who take Dheeksha for 41 days. Sabarimala temple facts include these rules along with some other facts listed below:
Sabarimala Temple Facts
1.Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha temple is a pilgrimage center for the Hindus situated in the Western Ghat mountains of the Pathanamthitta District in Kerala.
2.With around 50 million devotees visiting every year to Sabarimala, it is termed the largest annual pilgrimage in the whole world.
3. After assassinating the powerful demoness, the Hindu God Ayyappan meditated at a place. This particular place is trusted to be Sabarimala. The temple of Ayyappan is situated here surrounded by 18 hills.
4. Located on a hilltop at a height of 468 m (1535 feet) above the mean sea level, the Sabarimala is temple is surrounded by dense forests and mountains.
5. Temples are situated in each of the hills surrounding the Sabarimala. While the intact and functional temples exist at various places in the surrounding regions like Karimala, Kalaketi and Nilackal, remains of old temples until today on the remaining hills.
6. Sabarimala is connected to the Hindu pilgrimage, mostly for the men of all ages. It is very easy for you to identify a Sabarimala pilgrim as they wear blue or black dress. Till the completion of pilgrimage, they do not shave and smear sandal paste or vibhuti on their forehead.
7. Women (between the age group of 10 and 50) are not permitted to enter the temple as the story associated to Ayyappa forbids the entry of women in the menstrual age group. This is because Ayyappan is a celibate.
Image: ghat roads
8. Only during the days of Maha Vishuva Sankranti (14th April), Makaravilakku (“Makar Sankranti” – 14th January) and Mandalapooja (15th November to 26th December approximately) and the first 5 days of every Malayalam month, The Temple is Open for Worship
9. Prior to the pilgrimage, the devotees are expected to follow a vratham (fasting for 41 days). This starts with wearing a special Mala (a garland made with Tulasi beads or Rudraksha).
10. Even today, many devotees still follow the customary mountainous forest path (61 kms approximately) from Erumely, 8km from Chalakayam and 12.8 kms from Vandiperiyar, that is believed to be taken by Ayyappa himself.
11. The traditional priest family who has power over the issues to be decided in the Sabarimala temple is Thazhamon Madom. It is the privilege of Thazhamon Madom to decide on the issues relating the Sabarimala shrine. Tantris should be present in all the ceremonial functions and poojas to be held at the temple. The installation of the temple’s idols was also carried out by Tantri of Thazhamon Madom.
12. Sabarimala temple’s prasadam is Appam and Aravana payasam. These are prepared using jaggery, sugar, ghee, rice etc.
13. Every night, before closing the door of the temple, the Harivarasanam song is recited. Sri Kambangudi Kulathur Srinivasa Iyer composed this song. It came to be accepted as the lullaby by melshanthi and thantri with the efforts of Swami Vimochanananda. The composition has 32 lines, 108 words and 352 letters.
14. The significant message given at the temple is the ideal knowledge that every individual is a God unto herself/himself. The meaning of Tat Tvam Asi is “That is you”. Because of this, pilgrims call each other as Swami.