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Lord Ayyappa, God of Sabarimala

Lord Ayyappan

Lord Ayyappan

Lord Ayyappan

Lord Ayyappa, God of Sabarimala, is one of the prominent gods of Hinduism. He is adorned and celebrated as son of Lord Shiva and of female incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The other names of this God are Manikandan, Pulivahanan, Dharmasastha, Sabarinathan, Kanthavasan, Kaliyugavarathan and so on.

The prime temple of him is situated on Sahya hills of folded mountains of Western Ghats, Kerala in India at about 3000 ft above mean sea level. Every year many lacs of devotees come to this temple from both domestic and foreign countries. Particularly in December and January huge mass of devotees from various parts of the country come to Sabarimala to get blessings of the Lord Ayyappa.

Lord Ayyappa


Things to follow before undertaking Sabarimala Pilgrimage

Unlike other Hindu temples, ladies between the age group of 13 and 56 are not allowed to this temple. Only the gents, boys, girls under the age of 9 years and ladies who have crossed the age of mensural problems will be allowed to enter the temple campus of Sabarinathan.

There are some important things to follow before the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

  • Every devotee should strictly follow 41 days of austerities after wearing beads made of thulasi or rudraksha on the first day of Tamil month Karthiga or the first day of Malayalam month Virutchiga.
  • Usually many number of devotees join as a group and each group will be guided by an experienced devotee called Guruswamy.
  • All the devotees should avoid non-vegetarian food items, liquors, smoking, shaving, hair cutting and most importantly sex during during the observation of austerities.
  • It is advised that every devotee should speak politely and behave gently with others when he observes austerities.
  • They should take bath in evening and morning times. In some places of country a group of devotees join together and chant the lord by playing local musical instruments.
  • 'Om Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa' is the main mantra of Lord which is chanted by every devotee on those days when they observe austerities.
  • Only saffron colored dress should be worn by the devotees. It's true that these austerities help man to be free from bad habits and keep good mind and body health.


Before starting pilgrimage every devotee should prepare a kit called Irumudi at his home. It's a traveling kit containing two cloth bags. One of them is used to put inside a coconut filled with ghee and other things required for performing Abhishekam of Lord Ayyappa.

For filling ghee a coconut is taken and outer shell is polished well and water inside of it is removed by opening its eye, and after the inside of the coconut get completely dried the liquid ghee is carefully and humbly filled inside it and then it is sealed using cork and red-wax. The other bag of Irumudi is used to carry personal things required by the devotee during pilgrimage.

Mandala Pooja and Mahara Pooja

Mandala Pooja and Maharashtra Pooja are conducted in two different periods. Mandala Pooja celebrations at Lord Ayyappa temple starts from the first day of Malayalam month called Virutchigam (November-December) and it'll continue up to the 11 th day of Dhanu of Malayalam month (December-January) of every year.

Mahara Pooja will be held after Mandala Pooja. And most of the pilgrims prefer to go to sabarimala during Mahara Pooja to get the glimpse of Mahara Jothi.

Getting the glimpse of Mahara Jothi is the most important event of Mahara Pooja Celebrations. It is believed that God Ayyappa appear in the form of divine light on the top of hill called Kanthamalai, which stands just opposite to lord Ayyappa temple. Every year on January 14th at the evening Jothi (divine light) appears on the top of Kanthamalai. January 14th is the first day of Malayalam month of Maharam in Kerala, and so it gets that name.

Erumeli Petta Thullal

Erumeli Petta Thullal

Important stages of pilgrimage to Sabarimala

The pilgrimage to Sabarimala constitutes of 5 important parts. They are Erumeli Petta Thullal, Taking bath in the holy river Pamba, Climbing up Neelimalai, Getting darshan of lord climbing up 18 holy steps, Ghee Abishekam.

Erumeli Petta Thullal

On their way to Sabarimala all the devotees get together at Erumeli where they perform the special part of the pilgrimage called 'Petta Thullal'.

In this a small bundle of vegetables is tied in the middle of a stick which can be held by two persons on both ends. All the other devotees are usually dancing with toy weapons and chanting the lord applying color powders on their body and they will be accompanied by the traditional music of the region. And they all move towards Vavar Mosque situated in the town to pay homage to Vavar Swamy.

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Vavar Swamy is one who had been a robber and later became the friend of Lord as he was attracted by the divine power of God Ayyappan. After taking bath in nearby river, all of them will move to river Pamba which lies at about 60 km from there. In fact Erumely is a wonderful place which unites the people belonged to both Islam and Hinduism.

The holy river Pamba

River Pamba

River Pamba

Slope on Neelimalai

Neeli Malai

Neeli Malai

Bathing in holy river Pamba and Climbing up the steepest Neelimalai

After performing petta thullal at Erumeli, all the devotees will reach the holy river called Pamba. Every one take bath here as it's considered the most sacred one. After bathing in river Pamba, the devotees will start climbing up the steepest hill of Neelimalai which lies on the bank of river. After 3 km long climbing of Neelimalai, they will reach the prime temple of Lord Ayyappa.

18 Holy steps

These are god veiled eighteen holy steps situated in front of sannithanam where we can get glimpse of God. Only the devotees carrying irumudies will be allowed to climb up 18 holy steps. It is said that every step has its own speciality and after climbing up it all the devotees will get glimpse of Lord and chant loudly 'Om Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa'.

After getting peaceful dharshan of God, they will also worship other Gods like Karuppaswamy, Kannimoola Ganapathy and Maaligapuram in various shrines in and around the temple campus.

Ghee Abishekam

Next day, the coconut filled with ghee from every irumudi will be taken out and broken, and all the ghee will be collected from the devotees and later gently heated until it gets semi soild form. All the devotees in the group again go to the prime shrine to bath God with the ghee. Priests will give a portion of ghee to the devotees after performing Ghee Abishekam of the Lord.

Then the devotees used to throw one part of the coconut used to fill ghee in to Aghni kundam (A square in which coconuts will be fired). It reveals that our soul like ghee is offered to the lord and body like remaining coconut is given to nature. The other part of ghee filled coconut will be used to prepare delicious Ayyappa prasadam made of rice flour, sugar, ghee, coconut slices, dates and raisins. After performing this important task ( Bathing of God in ghee) of pilgrimage, all the devotees will return their home.


Ramesh on March 17, 2011:

Swamy sharanm AYYAPPA

Vinod on March 17, 2011:

Swamy sharanm AYYAPPA

lord AYYAPPA one of the most powerfull god,&shabarimala iS very beautifull i went 3 times with my father ,i can't forget in my life. SWAMY SHARANAM AYYAPPA

save all people.

Anni on March 17, 2011:

Om Swamye sharanm ayyappa

I am going last 5 years to is very beautiful place in world.ayyappa is so beautiful god.i can't say in every one visit once in life time.

Anand on March 17, 2011:

Om Swamye sharanm ayyappa

Vinay on March 17, 2011:

Swamy sharanam ayyappa

I visited 5 times to favourt god & shabarimala is a beautiful place.&AYYAPPA is a power full god.i like ayyappa.

Swamy sharanam.

rathesh on February 03, 2011:


mahes on January 31, 2011:


E.R.S on January 21, 2011:

Need Much more Dicipline to visit sabarimala...

Senthilnathan on January 10, 2011:

Iam only first time going to sabarimalai its useful for me and devotees go to sabarimalai

vishal on January 04, 2011:

Hi how to get there

rahul maheshwari on December 24, 2010:

he is very butiful tempal in would

m.sashikumar on November 20, 2010:

swamiye saranam ayyapa

Manikandan on November 02, 2010:

Visit Lord Iyappa and expect good things happen in your life

vselvaml on October 24, 2010:

lord iappan is my heart

RAMESH on October 21, 2010:


k.s.chandran on September 29, 2010:

Really a wonderful detail information and was engrossed all the way------

hope get an opportunity to visit and seel blessings of the lord

swammy saranam ayappa

SANTHOSH on May 21, 2010:

sammy saranam ayyapa

ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on May 15, 2010:

Dear Pradeep Raj, Thank you very much for coming here and leaving your nice comments. Lord Ayyappan is my favorite God. I am so proud of living nearby his prime temple. Thanks again for sharing your Godly feelings.

Pradeep Raj on May 15, 2010:

Jai Sri Sri Ayyappa ! Since i hav heard of Lord Ayyappa from a devotee at Vellore i hav been longing to visit this holy place. I hav a photo of Lord Ayyappa which i worship daily & for last few days visiting this holy place is haunting my mind and then this handful information i get thru ur hub. Thanx will be a little word but i can't control myself to thank you for this vivid information. JAI SWAMI SARANYE AYYAPPA !

ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on April 20, 2010:

Dear Anamika S, Very Happy to see you here and thanks a lot for your comments and thumbs up!

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on April 19, 2010:

Excellent Read and nice pictures too! Voted you up.

vysakh on April 11, 2010:

it feels so glimpse when we go Lord Ayyappa temple in sabarimala.For more informations visit

Shadow101Dancer on February 23, 2010:

Excellent job with good graphics. I am very appreciative that you are sharing this with many who have a limited access to the beliefs common to Hinduism. Take care

maheshpatwal from MUMBAI on January 20, 2010:

Really nice hub friend.......... keeping on spreading the message of indian culture............

N.RAMA on January 06, 2010:


Everybody, i like ayyappan so much.

it was a wonderful place to visit.

But i can not visit this place,just because of iam a girl.

So its my bad luck.

I think atleast one time,only one time in my old days i want to visit ayyappan.

Thank you for this oopurtunity,

Ayyappan child.

kamalesh on November 30, 2009:


I have been their for twice and this is my third time..

In fact its a truly a wonderful place..

V.Abirami on November 14, 2009:

I went to Sabarimala one time but I can't forget it in my life time. My father took me when I was very young. I won't have this oppurtunity again.So everyone should go atlaest one time in their life time.

S.Venkatakrishnan on November 14, 2009:

After went to Sabarimala,My life been Changed i learnt lot of things from there,In our life time everyone should go there.its another World,Everyone is equal.S.S.Ayyappa.

ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on October 09, 2009:

Dear Jyothi and Anshu, Thank you very much for coming here and your nice comments.

Anshu on October 09, 2009:


I came here from hubbers India blog.


Jyoti Kothari from Jaipur on October 08, 2009:


You are continually posting hubs about Hindu gods and spreading Indian culture.

Thanks and rated up!

Jyoti Kothari

YAGANES on May 11, 2009:

This is a good information and can know about Lord Ayyapan

ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on May 05, 2009:

Dear Kmadhav, Thank you for visiting this hub and your nice comments.

Kmadhav from New delhi on May 04, 2009:

nice information with some refreshing graphics.

ratnaveera (author) from Cumbum on April 29, 2009:

Dear badcompany99, Thank you for nice comments. Hope you have also enjoyed the google map of sabarimala clicking the link 'prime temple'.

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