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SIGHTSEEING IN SABARIMALA, KERALA


AYYAPPA TEMPLE

Dedicated to Lord Ayyapa, the temple is perched on a hilltop at an altitude of 468 m. It is blanketed by mountains and dense forests on all sides. Other temples located in Nilackal, Kalaketi, and Karimala surround Sabarimala. Many temple ruins are scattered along the various mountains. The main temple, better known as Sannidhanam is a sacred abode featuring 18 steep golden steps leading to temple shrine known as Patinettampadi. Each step refers to Hindu Vedas or other scriptures. A giant fire pit, known as Homakunda is on the left side of 18 golden steps, where devotees need to burn their coconuts as a token burning their sins. Two shrines on the side of the Holy Steps are also worshipped by the devotees. Two temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Malikapurathamma can be found on the ground floor.

MAKARAVILAKKU

Celebrated in the month of January, Makaravilakku Festival is famous for the jewels that adorn the idol of Lord Ayyappa. An evening Puja called Deeparadhana is performed around 6:30 P.M. A lamp is lighted three times on the hill beside the sacred sanctum of Sabarimala indicating the completion of the Deeparadhana in Ponnambalamedu.

VAVAR SHIRNE

Dedicated to a Muslim saint Vavaru Swamy, this shrine at Sabrimala has an interesting tale to tell. It is believed that Vavaru Swamy was once a pirate defeated by Lord Ayyappa and later became his ardent devotee. People say that Lord Ayyappa himself instructed the King of Pandala Desam to build a mosque for Vavar at Erumeliin Kottayam District and a shrine at Sabarimala.

MALIKKAPPURAM DEVI TEMPLE

On the left side of the Ayyappa temple on a hillock lays the Malikappurathamma temple symbolic of the relationship between Lord Ayappan & Devi Malikapurathamma.