About Sabarimala Temple

About Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple, nestled amidst the lush greenery of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India, stands as a revered sanctuary dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. Its spiritual magnetism draws millions of devotees seeking solace, blessings, and a profound connection with divinity.

Perched atop a hill, reaching this sacred site entails a challenging trek through dense forests and rugged terrain, fostering a sense of dedication and devotion among pilgrims. What sets Sabarimala apart is its distinct customs, including a unique practice restricting the entry of women of menstruating age, rooted in beliefs surrounding Lord Ayyappa's celibate nature.

The pilgrimage season, known as Mandala Kalam, witnesses an influx of fervent devotees from November to January. The culmination of the Makaravilakku festival in January radiates spiritual fervor as a celestial light spectacle enthralls pilgrims.

The journey to Sabarimala demands austere observances—devotees undertake 41 days of penance, don black attire, shun meat and alcohol, and chant prayers, preparing their minds and spirits for the pilgrimage.

This temple transcends geographical boundaries, attracting not just locals but pilgrims from across India and beyond. Its profound cultural significance and spiritual aura make Sabarimala a beacon of faith and devotion for countless devotees.


Which God is present in Sabarimala?

Sabarimala Temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is revered as the presiding deity there. Lord Ayyappa is a unique manifestation in Hinduism, embodying the combined essence of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. He is worshipped as a symbol of unity and harmony, drawing devotees to seek his blessings for fulfillment, spiritual growth, and guidance. The temple at Sabarimala is believed to be the sacred abode of Lord Ayyappa, attracting millions of pilgrims during the annual pilgrimage season.


What is special about Sabarimala Temple?

Sabarimala Temple holds a unique and revered place in Hindu culture for several reasons:

Lord Ayyappa's Abode: The temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, considered a unifying force of diverse religious beliefs. He embodies the synthesis of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, attracting followers from various backgrounds.

Austerities and Pilgrimage: The pilgrimage to Sabarimala is marked by rigorous penance and discipline. Devotees observe a 41-day fasting period, abstaining from worldly pleasures, maintaining celibacy, and adhering to strict rituals before undertaking the journey.

Restrictions and Inclusivity: The temple historically restricted the entry of women of menstruating age due to beliefs surrounding the celibate nature of Lord Ayyappa. This practice has sparked debates on tradition, gender equality, and religious rights in modern times.

Spiritual Significance: Sabarimala is renowned for its spiritual energy and the sanctity of its surroundings. The arduous trek through forests and hills fosters a deep spiritual connection and a sense of purification among pilgrims.

Festivals and Celebrations: The temple's annual festivals, especially the Makaravilakku festival in January, draw immense crowds. The sighting of a celestial light, believed to be a divine manifestation, is a momentous event during this time.

Cultural Heritage: Sabarimala embodies rich cultural traditions and rituals, showcasing the blend of spirituality, devotion, and communal harmony that characterize Indian cultural tapestry.

The confluence of tradition, spirituality, and the arduous pilgrimage journey makes Sabarimala Temple a revered and special place for devotees seeking spiritual fulfillment and divine blessings.


Why Sabarimala has 18 steps?


The 18 sacred steps at Sabarimala Temple hold deep significance in Hindu mythology and spirituality. These steps, known as "Pathinettam Padi" in Malayalam, represent various aspects of spiritual evolution and are linked to the journey of the human soul.

Symbolism of the Number 18: In Hinduism, the number 18 often symbolizes various dimensions of life, knowledge, and transformation. It represents the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, considered a profound discourse on life's philosophical aspects.

Stages of Spiritual Progress: Each step signifies a stage in the devotee's spiritual journey, representing virtues, disciplines, and aspects of self-purification required to reach the divine presence of Lord Ayyappa at the sanctum sanctorum.

Correlation with Deities: Some interpretations associate the 18 steps with the 18 hills that surround the Sabarimala Temple, while others connect them to the 18 manifestations or aspects of Lord Ayyappa.

Mystical and Esoteric Symbolism: The steps also symbolize the 5 senses, 8 types of thoughts, 3 qualities (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas), and 2 aspects of the mind (manas and buddhi), representing the journey of overcoming worldly attachments and attaining spiritual purity.

Significance for Pilgrims: Devotees climbing these steps are encouraged to contemplate each step's significance, fostering introspection, self-discipline, and spiritual growth as they ascend toward the divine presence of Lord Ayyappa.

Overall, the 18 sacred steps at Sabarimala Temple hold a profound spiritual significance, guiding pilgrims through a transformative journey of self-purification and spiritual evolution.


The truth about Ayyappa

Lord Ayyappa, a revered deity in Hinduism, embodies a unique blend of attributes from both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The mythology surrounding Ayyappa's birth narrates the union of Lord Vishnu in his Mohini form and Lord Shiva, resulting in the birth of Ayyappa, symbolizing the convergence of divine energies. He is often depicted as a celibate deity, associated with principles of righteousness, austerity, and compassion. Sabarimala Temple in Kerala is believed to be his abode, drawing millions of devotees seeking his blessings during the annual pilgrimage. However, the temple's historical tradition of restricting the entry of women of menstruating age has sparked debates on tradition, religious beliefs, and gender equality. While the legends and customs surrounding Ayyappa portray him as a celibate deity, different interpretations exist within Hinduism, allowing for diverse understandings of his divine nature and significance.


Why are girls not allowed in Sabarimala

The restriction on the entry of girls and women of menstruating age in Sabarimala Temple is rooted in beliefs regarding the celibate nature of Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity. According to tradition, Ayyappa is considered a 'Naishtika Brahmachari' or eternal celibate. Devotees believe that the presence of women of menstruating age might disturb the deity's celibacy and the spiritual energy within the temple premises. This restriction has been a long-standing practice followed at Sabarimala, upheld by devotees who consider it essential to maintain the sanctity and purity of the temple's environment. However, this practice has been a subject of controversy and legal challenges in recent times, sparking debates on tradition, gender equality, and religious rights. Different viewpoints exist regarding this custom, reflecting a complex intersection of tradition, faith, and contemporary social perspectives.


How long is Pamba to Sabarimala?


The path from Pamba to Sabarimala spans a journey that traverses around 4.5 kilometers, yet its significance extends far beyond mere distance. This stretch represents more than a physical passage; it embodies a profound pilgrimage of devotion and spiritual introspection. The trail winds through rugged terrain, adorned by lush greenery and the enchanting melodies of nature. Pilgrims embark on this arduous trek, embracing not just the physical challenge of navigating hills and forests but also engaging in a spiritual odyssey. Each step forward signifies a conscious effort to transcend worldly attachments, as devotees undergo rigorous penance, fasting, and prayers for over 41 days prior to this pilgrimage. The path itself becomes a metaphor for the journey of self-purification, resilience, and dedication that leads them closer to the divine presence of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala Temple. It's within this journey that hearts resonate with the rhythms of devotion, forging an unbreakable bond between the seeker and the sought, culminating in an experience that transcends the physical act of reaching a destination.


Why is Ayyappa on Sabarimala

The presence of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala is associated with deep-rooted Hindu mythology and spiritual significance. According to legend, Sabarimala is believed to be the sacred abode where Lord Ayyappa meditated after defeating the demoness Mahishi. It's said that Lord Ayyappa, born out of the union between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in his Mohini form, chose this forested region atop the hills to engage in deep penance and meditation.

The sanctity of this spot stems from Ayyappa's commitment to fulfilling his divine purpose, maintaining celibacy, and emanating spiritual energy that drew devotees to seek his blessings and guidance. This serene locale amidst nature's tranquility became a revered site for worship, establishing Sabarimala as a significant pilgrimage destination for millions of devotees seeking the divine presence of Lord Ayyappa and the spiritual enlightenment associated with him.


What is the power of Ayyappa?

The power attributed to Lord Ayyappa in Hindu mythology encompasses several facets. He is revered for his strength, wisdom, and the ability to bestow blessings upon his devotees. Ayyappa is believed to possess the power to protect his devotees from evil forces and grant them courage, guidance, and inner peace. His spiritual energy is said to aid in overcoming obstacles, both internal and external, on the path towards self-realization and enlightenment. The devout seek Ayyappa's intervention for various aspects of their lives, from seeking solace during challenging times to seeking blessings for prosperity, health, and spiritual growth. His divine power is often perceived as a unifying force that brings together diverse communities and fosters a sense of harmony and devotion among his followers.


Is Muslims allowed in Sabarimala


Sabarimala Temple is open to people of all faiths, including Muslims. However, historically, the temple has specific customs and entry rules for devotees regardless of their religious backgrounds. The focus is on the pilgrimage process and the adherence to the rituals and practices associated with Lord Ayyappa's worship, rather than the religious affiliation of the devotees. All visitors are expected to respect the traditions and customs of the temple during their visit, regardless of their religious beliefs.


The mystery of Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple holds several mysteries and enigmatic aspects that contribute to its allure and spiritual significance. Some of these mysteries include:

Celestial Light: During the Makaravilakku festival in January, a celestial light, called "Makarajyothi," is observed at a distance from the temple premises. This phenomenon, often seen from the Ponnambalamedu hill, holds immense significance for devotees who consider it a divine manifestation of Lord Ayyappa.

Ayyappa's Celibate Nature: The temple's tradition of restricting the entry of women of menstruating age is surrounded by mystique and has sparked debates and controversies. The belief in Lord Ayyappa's celibate nature forms the core of this practice, adding to the temple's enigmatic aura.

Spiritual Energies: Devotees experience a sense of spiritual energy and purification during their pilgrimage to Sabarimala. The transformative journey through dense forests and challenging terrains fosters a profound spiritual connection, leaving pilgrims with a sense of awe and mystery surrounding the temple's ambiance.

Symbolism in Rituals: The rituals and practices observed by devotees during the pilgrimage hold deeper symbolic meanings, often shrouded in mystery and ancient symbolism. These rituals, such as the 41-day penance and the significance of the 18 sacred steps, carry esoteric elements that add layers of mystery to the temple's traditions.

Historical Legends: Sabarimala is steeped in mythology and legends, including stories about Lord Ayyappa's birth, his divine purpose, and the events that transpired in the region. These stories contribute to the mystical aura surrounding the temple.

The combination of celestial phenomena, age-old traditions, spiritual experiences, and ancient legends weaves a tapestry of mystery around Sabarimala Temple, enhancing its allure and captivating the hearts and minds of pilgrims and visitors alike.


 Why is Ayyappan legs tied


In certain depictions of Lord Ayyappa, especially in some traditional paintings or sculptures, you might observe his legs tied together. This representation symbolizes his status as a Naishtika Brahmachari, an eternal celibate. The tying of the legs signifies his vow of celibacy and self-control, emphasizing his commitment to abstain from worldly attachments and desires. This aspect of Ayyappa's portrayal underscores his disciplined and ascetic lifestyle, reflecting his divine resolve and spiritual dedication. 


Why Ayyappa is a Brahmachari

The belief that Lord Ayyappa is a Brahmachari or an eternal celibate, stems from Hindu mythology and legends surrounding his birth and divine purpose. According to the mythology, Ayyappa is believed to be born out of the union of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu in his Mohini form. His purpose was to defeat the demoness Mahishi, who was granted a boon that made her invincible against all men except the son born out of the union of Shiva and Vishnu.

To fulfill this divine mission, Lord Ayyappa embraced celibacy, dedicating himself entirely to his purpose without being influenced by worldly desires or relationships. This celibate nature is integral to his identity and is deeply revered by his devotees, who honor and worship him for his commitment to righteousness, discipline, and spiritual purity. Hence, the portrayal of Ayyappa as a Brahmachari signifies his unwavering vow of celibacy and his transcendence beyond worldly attachments.


Which festival is celebrated in Sabarimala Temple?


The primary festival celebrated at Sabarimala Temple is the Makaravilakku festival. This annual event occurs in January during the Makara Sankranti season and holds immense significance for devotees. The festival involves the lighting of a celestial lamp at Ponnambalamedu, a hill visible from the temple premises. The sighting of this light, known as "Makarajyothi," is considered auspicious and divine by pilgrims, symbolizing Lord Ayyappa's presence and blessings. The Makaravilakku festival draws large crowds of devotees who gather to witness this celestial event, seeking spiritual fulfillment and divine blessings.



In conclusion, Sabarimala Temple stands as a revered sanctuary atop the hills of Kerala, drawing millions of devotees seeking spiritual solace and divine blessings. Dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, this sacred site embodies a unique blend of tradition, mythology, and spirituality. The arduous pilgrimage, spanning from Pamba to the temple, symbolizes a journey of self-purification and dedication, fostering a deep spiritual connection among pilgrims. The temple's customs, including the revered 18 steps and the Makaravilakku festival, add layers of mystique and significance to this spiritual haven. However, Sabarimala also finds itself at the center of debates, particularly concerning entry restrictions based on age and gender. Despite controversies, the temple remains a beacon of faith, cultural heritage, and communal harmony, inviting devotees from diverse backgrounds to partake in its spiritual aura and experience the transcendental essence of devotion and pilgrimage.