Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
native_name = Sabarimala
type = Pilgrimage Town
locator_position = right
latd = 9.26
longd = 77.04
state_name = Kerala
district = Pathanamthitta District
leader_title =
leader_name =
altitude = 1260
population_as_of =
population_city =
population_rank =
population_total =
population_density =
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area_telephone = 0473
postal_code =
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Sabarimala (Malayalam: ശബരിമല, Kannada: ಶಬರಿಮಲೆ , Tamil: சபரி மைல, Telugu: శబరిమల ) is a pilgrim centre in Kerala in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of India. Lord Ayyappan's temple is situated here in the midst of 18 hills. The area is in the Sahya hilly regions of Kerala in Pathanamthitta District. The temple is situated on a hilltop at an altitude of 1260 m/4135 ft. above mean sea level, and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. Temples existed in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional and intact temples exist at many places in the surrounding areas like Nilackal, Kalaketi, and Karimala, remnants of old temples are visible in the remaining hills. Sabarimala is believed to be the place where Ayyappan meditated after killing the powerful demon, Mahishi.Sabarimala is one of the most visited piligrim centres in the world with an estimated 4.5 - 5 crores devotees coming every year. The world's second largest annual pilgrimage, after Haj in Mecca, is reported to be to Sabarimala.

The pilgrimage to Sabarimala is a singular example of one where pilgrims, without consideration of caste, creed, position or social status, go with one mind and one `mantra' dreaming constantly of the darshan of the presiding deity at the Holy Sannidhanam. Vehicles can go up to Pampa. Thereafter, pilgrims have to follow a path approximately four kilometres up a steep hill. The path, now fully cemented, with shops and medical aid by the sides, used to be a mere trail through dense forest.

There is a place near the temple (east of Sannidhanam), dedicated to the Vavar, a Muslim who was the disciple of Ayyappan, called "Vavarunada". The temple is open for worship only during the days of "Mandalapooja" (November 15 to December 26), Makaravilakku (January 15) and Vishu (April 14), and the beginning of every month in the Malayalam calendar.Sabari was a devout of Lord Rama and his devotion is widely attributed to that of an ideal devotee.Lord Ayyappa wanted his pilgrims to hon the same attributes as that of sabri and hence the hill on which the temple is situated is known as Sabari

3. Pandalam to Pampa through Pathanamthitta, Chalakkayam. and from there to Sabarimala by foot 4 km.

4. Vandiperiyar to Mount Estate by vehicle and there by walking to Sabarimala.

5. Climb down to Sabarimala from Vandiperiyar to Kozhikkanam - 15 km. Kozhikkanam to Uppupura - 10 km. Uppupura to Sabarimala - 3.5 km. (Up to Uppupura, vehicles can be used for the travel.)

Vehicular traffic cannot go beyond Pampa, situated on the Pampa river valley and the last five kilometres to the shrine can be best reached by trekking. However, porter carried chairs are also available for aged and handicapped pilgrims.

Distance and Route from Various Originations to Pampa

* Thiruvanathapuram - 173 km (via Kottarakkara)Thiruvananthapuram-Kottarakkara-Adoor-Thatta-Kaippattor-Pathanamthitta-Mannarakkulanji-Vadasserikkara-Pampa

* Eranakulam/Kochi - 182 km (Direct Route)Eranakulam-Kottayam-Thiruvalla-Pathanamthitta-Mannarakkulathi-Vadasserikkara-Pampa
* Eranakulam/Kochi - 182 km (Through NH-47)Eranakulam-Alappuzha-Thiruvalla-Pathanamthitta-Mannarakkulathi-Vadasserikkara-Pampa
* Eranakulam/Kochi (via Erumeli)Eranakulam-Pala-Ponkunnam-Kanjirappalli-Erumeli-Mukkada-Edamun-Athikkayam-Perunad-Poovathummoodu-Pampa.

* Coimbatore and Other Northern StatesCoimbatore-Thrissur-Angamali-Moovattupuzha-Koothattukulam-Kottayam-Thiruvalla-Pathanamthitta-Mannarakkulathi-Vadasserikkara-Pampa

* Coimbatore (via Erumeli)Coimbatore-Thrissur-Angamali-Moovattupuzha-Pala-Erattupetta-Kanjirapally-Erumeli-Ranni-Vadasserikkara-Pampa

Distance from other locations / towns

* Pathanamthitta - 65 km
* Punalur - 102 km
* Pandalam - 80 km
* Erumeli - 53 km (via Plappally, Mukkoottuthara)
* Kottayam - 109 km (via Erumeli)
* Kollam - 128 km
* Alappuzha - 130 km

When to go

Throughout the year, monthly poojas are held at the temple, usually during the first week of each Malayalam month. The shrine is open only for the first five days of each month and for the pilgrimage season, between mid-November and mid-January.

Millions of Ayyappan disciples visit the famous temple of Lord Ayyappan every year from all around India. The main pilgrimage season is from November to January. The temple is opened for brief periods at the commencement of each Malayalam month and during certain important Malayali festivals. Tourists and foreigners, as well as women between the ages of 10 and 50 (approximately age at puberty and menopause), are not officially allowed entry to the main temple.

Women between the age of 10 and 50 are not allowed to visit the Lord Ayyappan Shrine. A number of feminist organizations have tried to persuade the Travancore Devaswom Board to revoke this age old tradition, but to no avail. Many reasons are cited by the Board in support of the decree; these include the 41-day penance imposed on pilgrims (which include abstinence from sex, non-vegetarian, and rajasic foods, wearing a unique black outfit (shirt and dhoti) with beads around the neck, practicing utmost cleanliness, not uttering any curses, etc.), the arduous trek up to the shrine, and the fact that the Ayyappan worshipped at Sabarimala is supposed to be a celibate hermit.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has insured the Sabarimala Ayyappa shrine for a value of Rs 30 crore ($7 million) and also introduced a free-of-cost accident insurance project for pilgrims visiting the holy place. The pilgrims' insurance scheme offered up to Rs 1 lakh to the devotees suffering injuries or death at a stretch of about 18 km from Nilakkal to uphill Sannidhanam where the temple is located. The compensation for TDB and government employees on duty at the area would be up to Rs 1.5 lakh. An estimated 5 crore (50 million) pilgrims visited the temple last year during the main season from November to January and it is estimated that Sabarimala is providing 10,000 crore rupees to the Kerala economy.


Harivarasanam [ [ Harivarasanam] History and meaning of harivarasanam. ] is recited before closing the temple door at night. Harivarasanam song, which is sung today at Sabarimala as the Lullaby at night (Urakkupattu) was composed by Sri Kambakkudi Kulathur Srinivasa Iyer. It is said that Srinivasa Iyer used to recite the composition, after the Athazha Pooja, standing in front of Lord Ayyappa at the main temple. With the efforts of Swami Vimochanananda, it came to be accepted as the lullaby by the Thantri and Melsanti. The composition has 352 letters, 108 words in 32 lines (8 stanzas). [ [ Harivarasanam by K.J Yesudas.] ]

Though there have been many versions of this song sung by many renowned vocalists, the temple plays the rendition by Dr.KJ Yesudas. Dr. Yesudas is a staunch devotee of Lord Ayyappa though being a Christian by birth. Many devotees agree that when they hear his rendition being played at night in the shrine, they feel the presence of God


This significant ritual involves pouring sacred ghee brought by pilgrims in their Pallikattu (Irumudi) on the idol of Lord Ayyappa. It symbolically means the merging of Jeevatma with the Paramatma.

Aham Bhramasmi and Tattvamasi

The important message given at the temple is the ultimate knowledge that you are God, Tat Tvam Asi in Sanskrit meaning "That is you". Due to this pilgrims call each other Swami. Kantararu Maheshwararu of "Tazhamon family" is the "Tantri" (Head Priest) of Sabarimala.

Tat Tvam Asi, meaning "Thou Art That" is the message that is given out by the Lord. It means, in short, you are part of the Universal Soul (in Sanskrit "Paramatma") which is the quintessence of Advaita philosophy. It also means for reaching The Paramatma or Universal Soul, you search yourself .i.e. the Jeevatma(Life soul) present in you.

See also

# Ayyappan
# Makara Jyothi
# Maalikapurathamma
# Pandalam
# Pathanamthitta


External links

* [ Sabarimala, largest pilgrimage in the world after Haj, news item ]
* [ Sabarimala – More of a reality than a myth]
* [ Website about Sabarimala ]
* [ Website about Kerala ]
* [ Read Useful Details about Sabarimala Temple]
* [ Makara Jyoti commentary by Rahul Easwar for Kerala Media]
* [ Website about famous chengannur mahadeva/devi temple]

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