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Kerala Backwater

Ayyappan Temple, Sabarimala, Kerala

If you are contemplating a pilgrimage tour to Kerala, you should be aware that the Ayyam Temple boasts the world's second largest annual pilgrimage. The pilgrimage journey to Sabarimala, where the temple is located, happens to be rigorous one. But what can dampen of the spiritual fervour of devotees? They make the journey with all religious faith and arrive at the temple to seek blessings from Sri Ayyappan, also known as Lord Muruka or Lord Subrahmanya. Sabarimala's Ayyappan Temple is associated with countless myths and legends. It would be interesting to make a tour to the temple and gain a deep insight into the religious history of Kerala.

Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to make a pilgrimage tour to Lord Ayyappan Temple is between the months of November and January.

Mythological Background
An interesting legend is associated with the setting up of the Ayyappan Temple in Sabarimala. According to the legend, Parasurama Maharshi provided safety to Kerala and got it back from the ocean in return for his axe. Later, he installed the statue of Sri Ayyappa at Sabarimala to worship the lord. Later, the spot where he had installed the idol of the deity came to be known as the Ayyappan Temple. Lord Ayyappa is believed to be one of the sons of Lord Shiva.

Entry to Ayyappan Temple
It is interesting to note that not only Hindus but people belonging to every caste and community are invited and allowed at Sabarimala's Ayyappan Temple. 'Kanni Swami' is the title given to the pilgrims arriving at the temple. The pilgrim who leads the group of other pilgrims is referred to as Guru Swami.

Places to See
Some other religious places or shrines are also located close to the temple. Also visit these pilgrimage destinations during your tour to Ayyappan Temple.

Located near the Ayyappan Temple is the Vavar Nada. The holy shrine stands in dedication to a Muslim Saint. All the devotees who wish to make a visit to the former temple has it mandatory to worship at the shrine of sufi saint first and then advance towards the temple.

Temple Festivals
A number of temple festivals are celebrated at Ayyappan Temple. The Mandalapooja and the Makaravilakku festivals are the mos popular ones. On the occasion of the latter temple festival, jewellery for the deity is brought to the temple.

Reaching the Temple
If you are taking a flight, you can first fly down to either the international airport of Thiruvananthapuram of Kochiís Nedumbassery International Airport. Further, you can undertake a few hours road journey to read Pampa. Railway stations that lie close to the pilgrimage town of Sabarimala include Kottayyam and Chengannur. Pampa is well connected by regular bus services from places like Kottayam, Ernakulam, Alleppey, Erumeli and Thiruvananthapuram among others.