SabarimalaSabarimala is a beautiful mountain in Kerala, India famous for the Ayyappa temple which attracts 50 million visitors every year. Sabarimala mountain is situated inside the evergreen forests of Periyar Tiger Reserve on Western Ghat mountain ranges. It is 1535 ft above sea level.
Conditions for pilgrimagePilgrims are required to adopt an ascetic lifestyle before climbing the hill, including abstention from drinking, smoking, and tobacco for a period of 41 days before climbing the hill rock; abstention from consuming any non-vegetarian food or any kind of food that contains roots of plants. Food must be consumed only after bathing and praying, and in limited quantities. Pilgrims are also to refrain from sex, shaving, having a haircut and using luxuries such as perfumes, scents, silk clothes and shoes.
Dress codeDevotees wear blue, black or saffron-coloured costumes. All pilgrims carry an Irrumudi-Kettu, which is a bag containing a coconut filled with ghee, puja materials, rice and banana which will be folded into two halves and carried on one's head.
All devotees must chant "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa" (which means Ayyappa is my saviour) as a token of devotion. Every other person when met at Sabarimala is referred to as Ayyappa and must not be called by his or her name.
Time to visitThe temple is open for 41 days from November 16th or 17th (1st day of Vrishicka Month of Malayalam Calendar) and goes till mid of January. The grand festivities of Makara Sankrathi marks the end of Mandala pilgrimage. Apart from this pilgrimage season, the temple opens for all 1st and 2nd day for Malayalam Month. For tourists, the second option is more ideal than Mandala pilgrimage, considering the heavy rush.
Main pujas and offerings
The main pujas are on opening and closing days of Mandalam Pilgrimage as well as on Makara Sankrathi day, which attended by maximum number of pilgrims. The 10 day annual festival also coincide with Mandalam pilgrimage. Apart from special day pujas, 4 pujas are considered highly sacred which is conducted on daily basis. The Usha Puja (Morning Puja), Ucha Puja (Afternoon Puja), Abishekam (pouring libations) and Padi Puja (special pujas conducted on 18 holy steps at closure of temple in night). The temple is also famous for lighting maximum camphors as a token of devotion.
The main offering sacred to lord is Abishekams. Neyyu-Abishekams (Ghee Pouring) is highly sacred and ghee brought by all devotees in their Irumudi Kettus will be used to do. Likewise in evenings Pushabishekam (Flower pourings) as well as Bhasma Absihekam (ash pourings) will be conducted, which all be distributed among devotees. Another common offerings are Appam (a sweet dumplings) as well as Aravana (a thick sweet black dessert made of jaggery) which most of devotees buy.
Trekking up the MountainStart from Plapalli, proceed to Aangaamuzhi. and then to Muzhiyaar and finally to Sabarigiri road.
The following food items are also provided by the government agencies on payment of cash.
Andhra Style MealsWhite rice with spiced pickles, pachadis, podis and appadam. ₹50
Aravana AppamSmall dark brown dumplings available only at Sabarimala. ₹25.00 for a packet.
Aravana PayasamTemple dessert prepared with rice, ghee and jaggery. ₹60 for a tin.
Kerala style lunchBrown rice with Sambar, Rasam, Moru, Thoran, Aviyal and Pickle. ₹48.00
Masala DosaiA fermented crepe made from rice batter, black lentils, potato and onions. ₹35
Vegetable Biriyani.Rice cooked with vegetables, spices and ghee. ₹45
Milma Jersy Milk₹22.00
Milma Sambharambuttermilk. ₹10
Porridge, Lentils & Pickle₹27.00
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