The largest annual pilgrimage in the world - Sabarimala

The article is about Hindu pilgrimage, Sabarimala. It is the world's largest pilgrimage centre. Millions of devotees visit this Lord Ayyappa temple every year. The article is all about it's importance and beauty.

'Western Ghats' Mountain ranges is famous for it's natuaral beauty and is blessed with the Hindu pilgrimage place in it. Sabarimala is a holy place where Lord Ayyappa is said to be meditated. It is situated at a height of 1534.8ft above mean sea level, in Pathanamthitta district, Perunad Grama Panchayath in God's own country, Kerala. With an estimated devotees of approximately 45 million every year, Sabarimala is the largest pilgrimage in the world.

This semi-golden temple is situated amidst of 18 hills and surrounded by dense forest. Lord Ayyappa after defeating 'Mahishi', a demoness, meditated in Sabarimala. Since Lord Ayyappa is a Celibate(Brahmachari), menstrual age group women(10 years to 60 years) are not allowed to visit Sabarimala, but men of all ages can visit and become a devotee of Lord Ayyappa to visit Sabarimala. The devotees wear either black or dark blue clothes(dhoties) and should visit nearby temple daily. They should follow a strict 41-day penance(Vratham) with a balanced diet. The daily food routine of these 41 days must be free of non-vegetarian(except dairy), alcohol, tobacco etc. They should take bath twice daily and should not cut hair nor shave moustache and beard. They must not engage in any type of sex affair and should not use foul languages. Devotees set out for the sabarimala temple under a leadership of the eldest devotee. Each devotee carry a cloth bundle known as irumudi kettu on their head with their offerings like oil filled coconut and other traditional offerings. The dharmasastha temple has no religious as well as cast discriminations, pilgrims from inside and outside India come to Sabarimala every year.

After defeating demoness, Ayyappa went to Sabarimala through Erumely(approximately 52km), is said to be the traditional forest path to Sabarimala. Many devotees follow this path even without footwear. While following this path devotees first reach Azhutha river, from where devotees take the stone which they touch first, when they get into the water. They take this stone till the place, where it should be thrown(kallidamkunnu). Devotees then reach Karivilam thodu and then Karimala hill. Karimala is the toughest hill to climb. After Karimala hill, devotees reach Cheriyanavattom, Valiyanavattom and then Holy Pamba river. Many people utilizes vehicle to reach till Pamba river by another road. Then devotees climb Neelimala to reach Sabarimala Sannidhanam(approximately 4kms). There are many auspecious events and ceremonies which take place every year, such as 'Thiruvabharana Ghoshayathra', Makarajyothi dharshanam etc. Thiruvabharana Ghoshayathra is a rally to Sabarimala Ayyappa temple from Panthalam palace, with jewels and other gold offerings to the Lord. Makarajyothi is the appearance of 'dhruv' star. The temple opens at early morning and closes after Harivarasanam song, a lullaby for Ayyappa at night.

The ultimate message depicted at Sabarimala temple is "Tatvamasi". It means "That thou Art". The meaning is "That is You". You are the part of universe and universe is itself you.


Guest Author: 06 Jul 2013

Who can forget the great annual pilgrimage undertaken by the ardent devotees of Lord Ayyappa who is having his main sactorum at Sabarimala. The devotees from every corner of India converge there during december and January months and witness the Makara Jyoti on Sankranthi. From Andhra Pradesh too there are many ardent devotees who make the point to visit this temple every year. I have seen people completed 25 to 30 regular visits without break so far and that indicates the power of Lord Ayyappa and his preaching. Surely this temple is famous after Tirupathi in AP.

Guest Author: pavi12 Nov 2018

Ayyapa dharma is the future of religion. It talks of unity. One god, One religion, One caste (human) ...this is the only holy place in the world where people do rigorous penance to meet the lord. It's not that without penance you cannot meet the lord, but in 41 days it connects you directly with the lord when you sing hymns for the lord you get goosebumps and tear roll from your eyes unknowingly. It brings unity among the swamis, for you everyone is swami and believe God resides in every Swamy and the Lord is with you when you wear mala. Every food you offer to swamis offered to lord himself. A lot of miracles of Lord, he stays with you, he stands with you, he brings good luck if you sincerely follow the rituals, sanity with pure devotion. Lord only understand you as swami even though you can be a Christian, Muslim or Hindu. you can be from any caste ..before the lord all are one.
Dharma stave ..sharnam ayyappa.

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