Western Ghats, Kerala
Dedicated To :
: 914 m Above Sea Level
: Sabarimala Temple Festival
Amidst the virgin forest wilderness of the Western Ghats(Kerala)
, a village called Sabrimala is situated. This village is said to have been named after Sabri. This tribal woman figures in the Ramayna epic as devout devotee of Lord Rama. She underwent severe penance in order to meet Rama who granted her wish for her devotion and faith during her penance.
Atop the hill of this village, Sabarimala Temple
stands at an altitude of 914 m above sea level. This is the abode of Lord Ayyapan. This is a famous place for pilgrimage in South India
. Severe ritualistic penance is associated with this pilgrimage.
Before undertaking this pilgrimage, devotees undergo rigorous penance and austere living.
During the pilgrimage, they continue undergoing the rigors of penance and undertake ritualistic vows and fasts before they reach the temple.
While on pilgrimage, devotees wear black 'dhotis' and remain bare-chested. The temple is at the top of the Neeli hills and the devotees have to climb the treacherous route carrying their meagre provisions in a bundle called "Iru Mudi"(meaning two folds)
The distance from the base of the hill to the top takes about three days to cover and the most important part of the pilgrimage are the final 18 steps leading to the temple. The temple dome is covered with gold and the devotees break the coconuts before climbing the steps.
The main pilgrimage is undertaken between November and January.
Lord Ayyapan is an equalitarian and secular god. Without any regard to caste, creed, colour, the bare-chested devotees in wear black dhotis carry on their heads, bundles containing traditional offerings like coconut filled with ghee, camphor and rice.
Opposite the main temple complex, there is a smaller temple for the Muslim god called Wavar, who is an ally of Lord Ayyapan. What an example of religious harmony!
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