||The temple located in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district in South India, India. One of the most famous temple pilgrimages in South India, South Asia, India. This is a kanniayyappan, first time pilgrims' ritual; ceremony. Before they begin the final stage of pilgrimage, the kanniayyappans throw spears, trishul, trident, is called saramkuthi. At sabaripeedom, place where the coconut lands, the pilgrims break the ceremonial coconut before starting the pilgrimage up the mountain. Pilgrims carry irumudikettu on their heads which they cannot put down till they reach the temple.The pilgrims make an arduous trek through the jungle to get to the temple. Pilgrims wear saffron clothing. Hordes of pilgrims from all over South India and the World come for the pilgrimage. Due to the fact that the temple is located deep in the jungle, the temple is normally open only from November to January. This period is called mandalakkalam. This is the time of the pilgrimage. The pilgrimage must be done with bare feet. The local language is malayam and tamil but some do speak english.
The devotees of Lord Ayyappan / Ayappan show the strength of their devotion in various ways. At every rest stop along the way are reminders of the mission these pilgrims are on. These can be seen in the numourous idols and messages to Lord Ayyappan / Ayappan. Every town that the pilgrims pass through has crowds of onlookers cheering on the pilgrims. The shops are beautifully decorated with shopkeepers anticipating good sales of supplies for the pilgrimage. They also sell toys and other playthings for the children going along on the pilgrimage. Here, the devotees are seen at the Sree Siva Parvathy Temple at Kalaketty.
During the trek up to the mountain where the Sabarimala temple is situated, the devotees keep themselves going by chanting the name of Lord Ayyappan / Ayappan, avatar / incarnation of lord Shiva / Siva, the Destroyer in the Hindu Trinity. They carry the Irumudikuttu, offerings to Lord Ayyappan on their heads. The pilgrims are not allowed put this down till they reach the Sabarimala temple, Kerala, South India, India. The irumudikattu is wrapped in saffron cloth called kesari kapra, an auspicious / holy color.
Hundreds of pilgrims trek through dense jungle in rain or sunshine to the Sabarimala Temple high up on a mountain in Kerala, South India. The pilgrims dressed as Lord Ayyappan, a reincarnation of Lord Shiva / Siva, one of the three Gods in the Hindu trinity, are seen celebrating the birth of Lord Ayappan. Pilgrims wearing loin cloths / dhotis, rosaries, head-dresses and face paint in various colors, wave offerings, emulating Ayappan. The pilgrimage exudes an atmosphere of joy and devotion to Lord Ayappan. Her, the pilgrimage starts from the Petta Sree Dharmasastha Temple with a Mosque in the close vicinity.
The pilgrimage to Sabarimala is a singular example of a pilgrimage where pilgrims, without consideration of caste, creed, position or social status, go with one mind and one `mantra' dreaming constantly of the darshan of the presiding deity a the Holy Sannidhanam. The pilgrimage begins in the month of November and ends in January. The temple attracts pilgrims not only from the southern states of India, but also from other parts of the country and abroad.
The shrine gets thronged with devotees especially during the main pilgrim season from November to January.Mandalapooja(Nov.15th)and Makaravilakku(Jan.14th)are the two main events of the pilgrim season. The temple stays closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of every Malayalam month and during Vishu (April). Certain customs are to be strictly observed if one has to undertake a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. A pilgrim attending the Mandalapooja should observe austerities for 41 days. During this period, the pilgrim should abstain himself from non- vegetarian habits and cardinal pleasures.
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