Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple
Sabarimala is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world with an estimated 40-50 million devotees coming there every year. This is a Hindu temple and dedicated to the worship of Lord Ayyappa.
Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple - - Kerala
This temple is situated in the Periyar Tiger Reserve of the Western Ghats in Southern India. Sabarimala pilgrims follow a strict procedure of lifestyle until the completion of their pilgrimage. The devotees believe that whatever they want is accomplished by undertaking this pilgrimage.
King Rajashekara of Padalam was childless and prayed for a child. As legend, Shiva and Mohini abandoned the child on the banks of the river Pampa. When the King went for hunting he came across the baby boy and took him home.
They named him Manikandan as he was found with a bell (Mani) tied around his neck. As the boy grew up, he excelled in all skills. The queen also had another son whom she adored and was afraid that Manikandan would become the heir. Once when the king was touring around the state, the queen feigned illness and bribed the royal doctor to inform Manikandan that she would only be healed by drinking the milk of a tiger that had just given birth.
Manikandan set out on his task. During this time in the forest he managed to put an end to a demon causing havoc in Devaloka. After he returned to earth, all the Devas turned to Tigers and cubs. Meanwhile in the kingdom, the queen was happy that she got rid of Manikandan when a sudden commotion got her attention. The people witnessed Manikandan arriving with Tigers and cubs walking together towards the palace.
The queen confessed her scheme and the king begged forgiveness from Manikandan. Manikandan told the king to build a temple at the spot where his arrow hits. This is the present day temple at Sabarimala.
Lord Brahma in anger cursed that the Devas shall be born as humans and suffer the mortal sufferings.
Sage Narada told the Devas to do penance at Varkala to Lord Vishnu and attain immortality again. This place where they did their penance thus became the Janardhana Swamy temple.
The temple is open between 3.00 am to 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm to 11.000 pm during the days it is functioning.
Pilgrims wear black, sandal, blue or saffron colored cloths and drone an Irrumudi-Kettu which contains a coconut, ghee, rice, banana and puja materials
The festivals that are celebrated with grandeur in Sabarimala are the Makara Villaku festival and the Mandala puja.