Sabarimala Temple Pathanamthitta

The Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple is a temple complex located on Sabarimala hill inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Ranni-Perunad Village, Ranni Taluk,Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, India.

It is one of the largest annual pilgrimage sites in the world, with an estimate of over 10 to 15 million devotees visiting every year.The temple is dedicated to a Hindu Brahmachari (celibate) deity named Ayyappan also known as Dharma Shasta, who, according to one belief, is the son of Shiva and Vishnu.Sabarimala Temple exemplifies the convergence of diverse religions in India.

Sabarimala hill pathanamthitta

The temple is situated on a hilltop amidst eighteen hills at an altitude of 487 m (1598 ft) above the mean sea level and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. The dense forest, part of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, around the temple is known as Poongavanam. Temples exist in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional and intact temples exist at many places in the surrounding areas like Nilakkal, Kalaketty, and Karimala, remnants of old temples survive to this day on the remaining hills. The temple is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja (approximately 15 November to 26 December),Makaravilakku or "Makara Sankranti" (14 January), and Maha Thirumal Sankranti (14 April), and the first five days of each Malayalam month. The pilgrimage includes a unique tradition of offering prayer at the mosque of Vavar, a Muslim devotee of Ayappan.

Mandala kaalam

The pilgrimage to Sabarimala starts from the first day of Vrischika month of Malayalam year (month of Scorpio) and ends on the 11th day of Dhanu month (the Month of Sagittarius). This season of 41-days pilgrimage is known as Mandala kalam (season) . The season is in the months of December and January.


The prasadam at Sabarimala temple is Aravana payasam and Appam. These are prepared by using rice, ghee, sugar, jaggery etc. The rice needed to prepare the prasadam at Sabarimala temple is supplied by Chettikulangara Devi Temple, the second largest temple under the Travancore Devaswom Board situated at Mavelikkara. The Chief Commissioner, Travancore Devaswom Board said that the board has appointed Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore as a consultant for providing technical guidance to ensure the quality of Aravana, Appam and other prasadam preparations at Sabarimala temple.


Harivarasanam is recited before closing the temple door every night. The Harivarasanam prayer, which is sung at Sabarimala is a Urakkupattu. It is composed by Kambangudi Kulathur Srinivasa Iyer in Sanskrit. It is said that Srinivasa Iyer used to recite the composition after the Athazha Puja, standing in front of the shrine of Ayyappa in the main temple. With the efforts of Swami Vimochanananda, it came to be accepted as the lullaby by the Tantri and Melshanthi. The composition has 352 letters, 108 words in 32 lines in 8 stanzas.


This significant ritual involves pouring sacred ghee brought by pilgrims in their Pallikettu or Irumudi (a two compartment bag made of handwoven cotton cloth used to carry the offerings for Sabarimala Temple carried on their heads) on the idol of Lord Ayyappa. It symbolically means the merging of Jeevatma with the Paramatma. While a red-colored irumudi is used by a pilgrim on his first journey as a Kanni Ayyappan to Sabarimala, others use navy blue till third year and thereafter saffron colored irumudi.

Makara Vilakku

Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana met Sabari, a tribal devotee, at Sabarimala. Sabari offered the Lord fruits after tasting them. But the Lord accepted them gladly and whole-heartedly. The Lord then saw a divine person doing tapasya. He asked Sabari who it was. Sabari said it was Shasta. Rama walked towards him. Shasta stood up and welcomed the Prince of Ayodhya.


This is the star that appear at the moment of Makarasankranthi before the holy arathi and the worship of Makaravilakk at Ponnambalamedu. It is the custom that after seeing Makarajyothi,the lighting of Makaravilakk shall begin.


The most important message written at the temple facade is one of the four Mahavakyas of Advaita or the non-dualistic school of philosophy. Tat Tvam Asi, the 3rd of four Mahavakyas which in sanskrit translates to "Thou Art That" is the principal philosophy that governs the temple and pilgrimage.

How to Reach

By Bus: 40 min (18.9 km) via Mannarkulanji-Pampa Rd

Nearest Railway Station: 1 hr 49 min (65.5 km) via Mannarkulanji-Pampa Rd

Nearest Airport: Sabarimala to Trivandrum International Airport (107.1 km)

Temple in Pathanamthitta

Sabarimala Temple Images

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