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Kerala Backwater


Sabarimala Temple, Sabarimala, Kerala

An interesting legend is associated with the construction of the Sabarimala Temple. In fact when you hear about Sabarimala, you are about to know that Kerala was retrieved from the sea. But who was it that got back Kerala? It is believed that Parasurama Maharshi got back Kerala from the sea by throwing his axe into it. He, later, set up an idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala so he may worship the lord. Today, devotees and pilgrims from all over the country and the world arrive at Sabarimala to perform their pilgrimage and to seek blessings from Lord Ayyappa. The pilgrimage season is between November and January. The holy shrine of Sabarimala in Kerala is snuggled up in the hills of Western Ghats.

How was Lord Ayyappa born?
According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Ayyappa came into being to combat demons residing in the hilly regions of Kerala. Legend has it that Ayyappa, as a child, was brought up by a king who had no child of his own. Throughout his period of incarnation, Lord Ayyappa performed many a miracle. After his mission of killing the demons in the hill tribes was fulfilled, Lord Ayyappa climbed up Mt Sabari and disappeared into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Pilgrimage Rituals
A pilgrimage trip to Sabarimala begins with the appearance of a celestial light atop a closely located hill. The light appears on the first day of the Makharam in the month of January. Watching and light as it diverges is also a part of the spiritual journey. Next, devotees and pilgrims take a sacred dip in the river. After the ritual bathing is complete, pilgrims begin on a short trek that takes them to the hilltop, where the Sabarimala is located. However, the pilgrimage is not as simple as it seems. For 41 days before the start of the journey, devotees observe fast, meditate, pray and keep away from celibacy.

It is also a ritual to a ghee-filled coconut and two more coconuts that are smashed apart on reach the temple in Sabarimala. While proceeding towards the temple, one needs to be barefoot. Walking here becomes rigorous because the roads here are quite uneven.

Mandala Pooja Festival in Sabarimala
A significant part of the Sabarimala Festival, the Mandala Pooja Festival starts 41 days prior to Makar Sankrant, one of the most auspicious occasions of the Hindus. The pooja festival continues for 41 consecutive days. Continuing for seven days, the Makara Villaku Festival is also a significant part of the Mandala Pooja Festival in Sabarimala.

Reaching Sabarimala
Fly down to any of the two airports Trivandrum Airport and Kochi Airport. Further on, travelers can take a bus or a car to reach Pampa. If you are coming by rail route, you can arrive at Kottayam or Chengannur. From these broad gauge railway stations too, regular bus services are available to take you to Pampa. By road, Pampa is quite well connected with towns like Erumeli, Kottayam, Chengannur, Thiruvalla, Trivandrum, Alleppey, Ernakulam etc.