History of Sabarimala Temple

  •  As per the inscriptions found, the foundation of the Sabarimala Temple was laid by King Rajasekara on the advice of Saint Agasthya. According to Lord Manikandan or Ayyappan,  devotees had to observe fast for 41 days to get the blessings. The ritual is still in practice to this day, and many devotees perform the austerities for 41 days before offering their visit to this temple.

    In all these days, devotees live like a saint by refraining from all worldly pleasures. They also do not allow themselves to think ill of anyone and try to observe Lord Ayyappan in their mind and heart. Such devotees are called Swami, who practice the life of a Brahmachari and walk the steep-sloped of Sabarimala.

    These devotees can be identified by the three-eyed coconut or Aantha Garland in their heads. 

    History of Sabarimala Temple

    The history and origin of the temple Sabarimala point toward King Rajasekara. The King completed the foundation of the temple and created the Shrine of Lord Ayyappan. He was also the one who installed the sacred eighteen stairs to lead to the complex.

    The King had made the idol of Lord Ayyappan; however, he was getting confused about where to establish the idol. Then he remembered the words of the Lord himself stating that the River Pampa is holy as Ganga and Sabarimala are equal to Kashi. The King was able to figure out the establishment of the idol, and he installed it on the auspicious day of Makara Sankranthi.

    Sabarimala is famous because of Lord Ayyappan as it is the main Shrine of the temple. Every year millions of devotees make their presence to the premise of the temple and to get Darshan of the Lord. Everyone visits here irrespective of their caste, creed, and religious system. Ayyappan is a Hindu deity; however, he is also visited by Muslims and Christians. 

    The devotees come here while refraining from all the worldly pleasures; they wear the garlands, chant the name of Ayyappan, take a holy bath in the river Pampa, and climb up the sacred eighteen stairs just to get a glimpse of the Lord.

    Makara Vilakku

    Makara Vilakku is the most important festival that has been celebrated here for centuries. It falls on the day of Makar Sankranti, where the Sun enters the Capricorn constellation. During the festivity, the jewels of the Lord are approved out by the royal family of Pandalam to the Shrine as a part of the procession.

    Devotees can witness the eagle hovering over the temple till the jewels are offered to the Lord. After that, the eagle disappears, and the same happens every year.

    This is a fortunate incident to the devotees, after which they become all excited and start chanting “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.” On this day, a star is also seen on the day which starts appearing from this day around the time of Sunset. This is the star Sirius which is also the brightest star in the sky. After this star, devotees witness a Jyoti on the top of the nearby hill.

    Years before, devotees used to believe that the Jyoti was the presence of Lord Ayyapan, who used to disappear after some time. However, after investigating, the Government found out that the makara jyothi was a result of the Pooja ritual of the tribesmen living near the forest of the temple.

    These tribesmen used to fire a lot of camphor and ghee to worship their Lord, and the same appeared like a Jyoti for the devotees at Sabarimala. However, as this was a matter of belief of the devotees, Kerala Government carried on these rituals, and still, on the same day, the Jyoti is managed by the Government officials. Plus, Sabarimala is a significant source of finances for the Kerala Government, and hence the Jyoti is still celebrated every year. 

    The Journey to the Temple

    In some households, the journey to the Sabarimala is taken very seriously. People actually start refraining from worldly pleasures 40 days before their arrival. They refrain from alcohol, meat, sex, and wrongdoings. 

    Devotees start showering with cold water even before sunrise; they sleep on the floor and consume limited food as well.

    On their last day, a ritual is organized in which ghee, some incense sticks are kept inside a black bag called irumundi. Devotees carry this bag on their journey while ensuring that it doesn’t touch the ground.

    People travel in groups to reach Sabarimala. They chant the hymns and recite the mantras. Every soul seems energetic and full of fervor for their destination. The Bhajans and devotion make the whole atmosphere overwhelming and spiritual.

    This is surely a journey where the devotion of a person is truly tested, and in return, he gets the grace of Lord Ayyappan. Celebrate the same on 14th January 2022 and get the blessings of Ayyappan.