Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple

#GS-01 Indian Heritage and Culture

For Prelims:

Sabarimala Temple:

  • Sabarimala temple is an ancient Ayyappan temple located in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala on top of the Sabarimala Hill.
  • The temple is dedicated to a Brahmachari (Celibate) deity Ayyappan also known as Dharma Shasta.
  • The temple is situated on a hilltop amidst eighteen hills at an altitude of 1260 m above sea level, and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests which is a part of Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Sabarimala Pilgrimage

  • The temple is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja (approximately 15 November to 26 December), Makaravilakku or “Makara Sankranti” (14 January) and Maha Thirumal Sankranti (14 April), and the first five days of each Malayalam month.
  • The pilgrimage includes a unique tradition, that of offering prayer at a mosque of Vavar, a Muslim devotee of Ayappan.
  • As per the custom followed, no pilgrim without “Irumudikkettu” can ascend the 18 sacred steps.
  • The devotees are expected to follow a Vratham (41-day austerity period) prior to the pilgrimage.
  • This begins with wearing of a special Mala which is a chain made of Rudraksha or Tulasi beads.
  • During the 41 days of Vratham, the devotee who has taken the vow, is required to strictly follow the rules that include follow only a lacto-vegetarian diet, follow celibacy, follow teetotalism, not use any profanity and have to control the anger, allow the hair and nails to grow without cutting.

The Temple Architecture:

  • The temple was rebuilt after arson and vandalism in 1950 and the earlier stone image of the deity was replaced by a panchaloha
  • The temple consists of a sanctum sanctorum with a goldplated roof and four golden finials at the top, two mandapams, the balikalpura which houses the altar.
  • The Pathinettu thripadikal or the 18 sacred steps is the main stairway to the temple.

Source “Amid heavy rush, Kerala imposes cap on pilgrims visiting Sabarimala