26-Nov-2008

Sabarimala Special Train From Sirpurkagaznagar To Kollam

No. 726 Sirpurkagaznagar-Kollam-Sirpurkagaznagar special will leave Sirpurkagaznagar at 6 p.m. on December 25 and January 1 and reach Kollam at 00.05 a.m. on the third day. No. 725 will leave Kollam at 1.45 a.m. on December 27 and January 3 and will reach Sirpurkagaznagar at 9.15 a.m. the next day.

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Sabarimala Special Train From Machilipatnam To Kollam

The Machilipatnam-Kollam-Machlipatnam special will leave Machilipatnam at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, from December 4 to January 15, and reach Kollam at 00.05 a.m. on the third day. It will leave Kollam at 1.45 a.m. on Saturdays, from December 6 to January 17, and reach Vijayawada at 4.15 a.m. the next day.

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Sabarimala Special Train From Vijayawada To Kollam

No. 730 Vijayawada-Kollam-Vijayawada special will leave Vijayawada at 7.30 p.m. on Mondays, from December 1 to January 12, and reach Kollam at 9.30 p.m. the next day.

It will leave Kollam at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, from December 2 to January 13, and reach Vijayawada at 10.15 p.m. the next day.

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Sabarimala Special Train From Nizamabad To Kollam

No. 766B Nizamabad-Kollam-Nizamabad special will leave Nizamabad at 4.15 p.m. on Fridays from December 5 to January 9 and reach Kollam at 00.05 hours on the third day.

No. 765B will leave Kollam at 1.45 a.m. on Sundays, from December 7 to January 11, and reach Nizamabad at 10 a.m. the next day.

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Sabarimala Special Train From Kakinada Town To Kollam

No. 744 Kakinada Town-Kollam-Kakinada Town special will leave Kakinada at 3.50 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from December 3 to January 14 and reach Kollam at 9.30 p.m. the next day. No. 743 will leave Kollam at 11 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from December 3 to January 15 and reach Kakinada Town at 3 a.m. on the third day.

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Sabarimala Special Train From Hyderabad To Kollam

No. 766 Hyderabad-Kollam-Hyderabad special will leave Hyderabad at 1.30 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from December 2 to January 15 and reach Kollam at 9.30 p.m. the next day. No. 765 will leave Kollam at 11 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays from December 5 to January 16 and reach Hyderabad at 4.30 a.m. the third day.

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25-Nov-2008

Few Dos and Don’ts of Ayyappa Deeksha

Dos:1. Do the bath in early morning with normal water. There is a big controversy that on using soap or not. When the rules framed by elders long long ago, there was no soap. So, they didn’t think of future facility. At that time every one was used some home made powders. They didn’t discuss about that powders also. That means the real meaning of this rule is- We must do bath cleanly, which helps us to be healthy and happy in a day.2. Do the bath in evening with normal water. This is also a good healthy guideline to get rid of tiredness of day work. So we can go to bed with good sleep, which is more important to a body.3. Do the pooja in the morning (before sun rise) and evening (after sunset). Poojas or praying god are meant for getting concentration. So, doing pooja in the morning means, we are putting a coma to home life and to getting ready to do the day work. And doing pooja in the evening means, we are putting a coma to day work and to getting ready to do the home life.
These above are not rules; they are the best methods to be happy in our regular life. So, we have to understand that GOD does not get anything from us by our bath and our cleanliness or pooja. It is 100% meant for our health.
Then what is God expecting from human? The answer is Live Happily, and Let Live Others Happily. Whereas every one (except few human beings) trying to do the first half of rule and not at all bothering about second half of the rule. We have to think about this. If one is following the above rule, then he does not need any Deeksha. He is 100% perfect human. God likes this type of people.
4. Have one time meals. This is also very good health point. This is also benefit to us, not to God.
5. Do the Anna Danam to others. This is what God expecting from human being, that is doing favour to others.
6. Sleep on ground without pillow and bed. Every one knows that this is helpful to our perfect blood circulation.
7. Talk less. This will help in getting good results of our job. That means we should not waste our time by simply chatting. It is also good for our efficiency.
8. Eat vegetarian food. This is also good for health.
9. The cook must also do the head bath and then he should prepare food for Swamies. Again it relates to cleanliness, which will stop the unhealthiness.
10. Help others. This is the way to be a good citizen. We have to know the Happiness behind the Helping. This is what we have to learn by doing Deeksha.
11. Make them others happy. This is another important thing we have to learn by Deeksha.
Can’t we do these 10 and 11 without Deeksha? Yes, we can do.
12. Do the Brahmacharya. This the rule framed by elders to get concentration on our training or Deeksha.
13. Maintain simple life. Use minimum things to run the life.


Don’ts:1. Don’t smoke.2. Don’t drink.3. Don’t eat non-vegetarian food.4. Do not use foot wear. This is good for health. The pressure on the foot bottom will keep the all organs of body freshly. This is also helps to us, not to God. Another benefit to us is, when we trekking on Sabarimala hills, it is always better to walk with bare foot, instead of foot wear, which will be slippery.5. Don’t make others unhappy.6. Don’t cheat others.7. Don’t say lies. At the same time we should not make others unhappy by telling truth. Try to avoid that topic, if you are supposed to say A LIE to keep the others happy.8. Don’t do half mandal Deeksha, quarter mandal Deeksha and instant Deeksha. Mandalam means 41 days. In olden days doctors used to give the medicines for a period of Mandalam for chronic diseases. Because it is their experience that the minimum time required by a body to get cured. Similarly to get cured by our mental diseases we need Mandalam days. We can observe the difference of a person before starting Deeksha and end of the Deeksha, with lot of change in behavior and way of thinking, if he is following a perfect Guruswamy.
9. Don’t do hi-tech(LUXURY) Deeksha.
10. Don’t do violence.
11. Don’t proud yourself. Because, the greatness you are feeling is not the great ness of you, it is given to you by the god. So, faithful to the god.
12. Don’t argue with others on any matter. I have seen the swamies arguing on the Rules of Ayyappa Mala, which will break the real goal of Deeksha. Just say the YOU are correct. Then the other person will feel happy. Think that you got the opportunity to make the others happy.
Finally most of the rules are meant for our health, and few are meant for becoming a good citizen.
Generally people follow the above rules in that Deeksha period only, after that they will continue their life with routine bad habits. Then doing the Deeksha is waste. Hope every one will try to reach the ultimate goal of Deeksha. So do the Ayyapp Deeksha properly by understanding the real meanings of rules and regulations and keep continuing the good habits after Deeksha also, which are deserved to our life.
Swami Saranam Swami Saranam Swami Saranam

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Guru swamy

In general every one thinks that- Guru swamy is the person who went to 5 times to Sabarimala with Maala. This is the rule framed by elders. So people understand that Guru swamy is the person who went 5 yrs with Mala to Sabarimala. It doesn’t mean that just by going 5 times to Sabarimala with Maala a person can be a Guru Swamy. It means, a person needs minimum of 5 yrs to get the knowledge of rules, dos and don’ts, methods of poojas, traveling experience to reach Sabarimala and etc. So the definition of Guru swamy is a person who is familiar with the all above. A real Guruswamy should not feel that He is great, and every one must obey him. He should think that he got the opportunity to help the others.

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Meaning of Ayyappa Deeksha

The real meaning of Deeksha is ‘A Training’. A training to become a good human being is called Deeksha. Deeksha doesn’t mean that - going to temple every day, praying the god twice in a day etc. For any training we need concentration. Deekskha is the best method to get concentration. For that the elders framed so many rules like thumb rules. Actually they are not rules, they are the guidelines to be happy in our life. But some people don’t understand the meaning of rules.

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Why we have to take Ayyappa Deeksha

This is the question we have to ask our self, when we have planned to take Ayyappa Deeksha. Generally people take this Ayyappa Deeksha as a bribe to god, when people expecting some thing from god or some benefit done by god. First we have to know that what are the results we are getting in our life (from birth to death) is not actual results of our hard work or intellectual. Every second of our life is predefined by God. So, if u do or don’t do the Poojas or Deekshas, you we will get same results which are defined. Then the million dollar question is, why we have to do the Deeksha of any god? Yes, this is the right question we have to ask, the answer is like this. In spite of belief in the god, every human must try to be a good human being. How to become a human as a good human being? The answer for those who believe the god is, Deeksha.

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Basics of Ayyappa Mala Vratham

The austerities (Vratham) starts on the 1st day of Malayalam month Vrichikam ( comes on November 14 or 15 or16 ) for the devotees who intend to Pray Ayyappa on the Mandala Pooja Day( comes around December 25th) or the Makara Sankranti day (comes around 14th Jan). “Makara Sankranti” day is the good day at Sabarimala and the ” Mandala Pooja day ” is measured as 2nd good day. At present the Sabarimala temple is opened to devotees on 1st 5 days of every Malayalam month and also on other kerala festivals day like “Thiru Onam”, “Vishu”, etc. But 41 days minimum vratham is essential before traveling to Sabarimala according to conditions of pilgrimage. But so many swamis are doing Ayyappa Mala Deeksha for less than 41 days. It is advisable them to not to dosuch type of Deekhas. Instead of that we can go and see the Sabarimala Ayyappan. It is a condition that we have to do the vratam for 41 days minimum. No one is insisting us to wear Mala. Then why should we do the less time Deekhas? If we can not do the Deeksha, let us not do that. No one including god will ask us, why you have not wear the Mala? Doing less than 41days deeksha is harmful to us. After doing such Deekshas, people are suffering a lot. Instead of that go in normal dress to Sabarimala to see the got. It is thousand times better than the doing less than the 41 days deeksha.

The vratham starts from a day of putting “Thulasi Mala” or “Rudraksha Mala”(garland) with Lord Ayyappa locket in the neck. Mala is supposed to be accepted from the temple Priest or Periya Swami / Guru Swami (The devotee who visited Sabarimala Temple many times and can guide others in every matter relating to the Sabarimala pilgrimage) and after mala is duly hallowed in the temple or in pooja room. The “Dakshina” has to be given to priest/ Periya Swami / Guru Swami concerned. Then wearing “Mala” that person is called as “Swami ” or “Ayyappan” ( in a name of God Ayyappa) till finishing point of his Sabarimala pilgrimage as well as removal of the Mala. Appropriate female( age should be between 1 to 9 or above fifty years) devotees can be called as “Malikapuram”( Shakti of God Ayyappa).

During this period of Vratham extreme care must be taken by every devotee to keep the body and mind pure, clean and also balanced. Devotee is anticipated to survive like “Yogi”, “sadhu” and his word, action, thought every thing should not hurt the others feelings. Devotee must avoid all Luxury pleasure and should avoid taking tobacco, alcohol and also non vegetarian food. And also should not cut nails and hair or shave. Black shirt and dhoti is dress code for the vratham. Wearing Shoes, Chappal are not permissible as per the traditional rule of Vratham. Complete Bramacharya in this period is necessary to go to the Sabarimala Temple. Devotee has to pray in morning and the evening subsequent to taking bath. Prior to every meal the devotee must pray the Ayyappa and take that meal as the “Prasadam” of Ayyappa.

With out proper Vratham, Sabarimala Pilgrimage should not be done. The real mental-satisfaction of pilgrimage can attain only by correct Vratham. May the God Ayyappa help every body to follow rule of the traditional Vratham for attainment of rescue of soul.

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Record inflow of pilgrims to Sabarimala

Despite the steady eruption of controversies and the security threats, there is no let up to the inflow of pilgrims and revenue to the famed Sree Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. All indications are that the pilgrim inflow – causing much strain on security – during the ongoing three month-long Makaravilakk festival season is likely to be a record this year.

The rise in inflow is reflected in the state's richest temple's galloping revenue collections, which is likely to touch a new high by the end of the festival season, began on November 16. The season's first week has brought in a record Rs 9.5 crore, which is Rs 4.5 crore more than the corresponding period last year.

November 23, a Sunday, saw the largest inflow of the week crossing Rs 1.91 crore. The largest component of the collection is from the sale of the highly popularAravana – a sweet and thick paayasa – which brought in Rs 3.99 crore last week. The daily sale proceeds of aravana this week is of more than Rs 80 lakh. This is in contrast to last year when a fall in aravana production had resulted in a major dip in revenue.

The week also saw a major rise in the revenue collected from pilgrims' donation –kanikka – to the hundis too. This reached Rs 3.89 crore against Rs 2.52 crore last year. The third major component of the temple's revenue is from the sale ofneyyappams – another sweet dish – which helped the temple earn a record Rs 95 lakh in the first week.

These are clear indications that the forest temple's total revenue at the end of the three month festival – the only time when temple remains open regularly in an year – is to cross Rs 100 crore this time for the first time, much higher than last year's Rs 81 crore.

And it is the revenue from Sabarimala that helps the state-appointed Travancrore Devaswom Board to administer most of the 2000-odd temples of the state.

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IRCTC announces special Sabarimala package

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, the tourism arm of the Railways, has launched a special package for pilgrims to the famous Sabarimala temple.

The services include confirmed accomodation on the Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore-Thiruvanthapuram Maveli Express, apart from transport and food arrangement for those making use of the package, an IRCTC press release here said.

The three-night package will be in operation throughout the Sabarimala season this year till January 12 and pilgrims in the Mangalore-Kozhikode stretch can avail it.

Priced at Rs 1,800 per head, the package also includes road travel to Pamba, the base camp to the hill shrine, and hall accomodation at the temple and food during the travel, the release said.
The bookings for the package could be made at Mangalore (09964318278), Kozhikode (09446539292).

The IRCTC also operates Sabarimala package from Bangalore and Chennai during the ongoing festival season, it said.

Apart from the Sabarimala package, IRCTC operates various vacation packages to South Indian tourist spots.

The Kollur Mookambika temple package, launched early this year, covers major pilgrim centres, namely Mookambika, Udupi, Dharmastala, Sringeri, Murudeswar, Kattil Devi both by rail and road from Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.

The Thiruvananthapuram-Mookambika package is priced at Rs 3000 while the package rate from Chennai is Rs 3,250 per head.

Bookings for the package can also be made through the IRCTC website www.railtourismindia.com , it said.

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Rs 50,000 salary for Sabarimala priest

A steep hike in the salary for the chief priest of Sabarimala temple appears to be on the cards with the Travancore Devaswom Commissioner proposing a monthly pay of Rs 50,000 from the present Rs 1,500, which was fixed 30 years ago.

After drawing up the proposal, Commissioner P V Nalinakshan Nair had a discussion with the High Court appointed Ombudsman for Sabarimala Justice K Bhaskaran. The proposal would be submitted to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) to implement it after the approval of the High Court, Nair said. Reacting to the development, state Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran said the government's view was that the pay for the Sabarimala chief priest should be fixed at Rs 10 lakh a year and that of the near by Malikappuram temple priest at Rs 7 lakh per annum. He, however, said it was for the TDB to take a final decision on the matter as the government did not want to intervene in its autonomy.

The chief priest for both the temples are appointed for a one-year period. The priests are selected by drawing lots on a panel of shortlisted candidates after an interview by the TDB. Once appointed, the chief priests should remain at the hill shrine for the whole year without leaving the place, unless in case of emergencies like the death of a close relative.

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24-Nov-2008

Sabarimala temple nets Rs 9.63 cr in first week of pilgrimage

The Sabarimala temple received a whopping revenue of Rs 9.63 crore in the first seven days of the ongoing pilgrim season, marking an increase of about Rs four crore from the corresponding period last year.

"The proceeds included revenue from 20 items, including cash offerings and distribution of various 'prasadam'," Travnacore Devaswom Board sources said. The supply of 'aravana' prasadam accounted for the highest amount of Rs 3.99 crore.

There has been a heavy rush of pilgrims to the hill shrine ever since the start of the 'mandala pooja' season on November 16.

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20-Nov-2008

Highest ever security for Lord Ayyappa

Metal detectors, bomb squads, machine gun-wielding commandos, closed circuit televisions mobile phone jammers and body scanners all around, the Sree Ayappa Temple at Sabarimala hills appears a veritable war zone.

This year’s annual Makaravilakk festival at the hallowed hill shrine is being held amidst unprecedented security arrangements. This follows alerts from intelligence agencies about security threats faced by the shrine which attracts about 2 crore pilgrims from all over the country for its three month-long festival held from November to January.

A record 10,150 strong-contingent of Kerala Police have been deployed in and around the shrine atop the Sabarimala hills, to which pilgrims trek up 5 kilometers from the basin of the holy Pampa river. The state force is joined by personnel from Rapid Deployment Force, National Disaster Aversion Squad and also Shadows and Quick Response Teams in civilian clothes.

The alert at the shrine would be highest on and around December 6th , the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition. Nine gun-wielding commandos keep vigil at the sanctum sanctorum while 6 bomb detection squads roam around the shrine round the clock. Pilgrims have been asked not to carry anything which does not belong to them.

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the state-appointed body which administers all the temples, has provided Rs 4 crore to beef up security at Sabarimala, the state’s richest temple which makes a revenue of more than Rs 80 crore during these months. It is Sabarimala shrine’s income which mainly helps TDB run most of its 1000-odd temples in the state.

The security threat to the temple has been exacerbated by the phenomenal rise in inflow of pilgrims every year. This has reopened the demand for the forest temple to remain open through out the year instead of the present practice of opening only for the three festival months besides the first days of every Malayalam calendar month.

“This is the only way to bring down the rush during the three months,” said O. Rajagopal, former union minister of state for railways and BJP leader. However, some devotee organisations oppose this saying it violates the temple’s traditions. Government maintains it would only decide as per the consensual opinion of devotees although it considered the security threat is to be taken seriously by all.

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Where humanity scores over myth and logic (Sabarimala)

The striking significance of the beliefs about Sabarimala is the absence of the touch-me-not-ism among the upper castes of Hindus. All are equal before Lord Ayyappa. Even the deity and the devotee are known by the same name – either Ayyappa or Swamy. This is the only such belief in the entire world.

Through the observation of strict penance, fasting and continence, one learns to control his senses. He gives up his lust and other human desires. He remoulds himself. On reaching his destination, he realizes the meaning of Thathwamasi – ‘That is You’. Thus he recognizes the enormous power, restraint and resilience from within.

Another importance which is more relevant these days is the oneness of diverse religious beliefs. It is one temple in the world, with doors open to all, whatever be their beliefs. The triumvirate of Ayyappa, a Hindu; Vavar, a Muslim and Kochu Thomman, a Christian speaks volumes for this factual truth. It is here that Sabarimala becomes more of a reality than a myth.

The history behind the worshipping methods in Sabarimala

Sabarimala – The reality

During the Sabarimala Vratham, the mind is made to withdraw from the worldly objects and is slowly directed towards Ayyappa. The aim is to reach Tat T

Why Ayyappa Devotees Wear Black Dress to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple?

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The history behind the worshipping methods in Sabarimala

The customs of the pilgrims to Sabarimala are based on five worshipping methods; those of Shaivites, Shaktists, Vaishnavites, Buddhists and Jainists. At first, there were three sections of devotees – the devotees of Shakti who used meat, liquor and other drugs to worship their deity, the devotees of Vishnu who followed strict penance and continence, and the devotees of Shiva who partly followed these two methods. It was then that the Buddhists and Jainists entered, spreading the concepts of Ahimsa. Another name of Lord Ayyappa is Sastha which means Buddha. This is a prime example of the reach of the Buddhist beliefs to this part of the world. All these can be seen merged into the beliefs of pilgrims to Sabarimala. The chain the pilgrims wear comes from the Rudraksha chain of the Shaivites. The strict fasting, penance and continence is taken out of the beliefs of the Vaishnavites. Ahimsa is taken from the Jainists. The constant and repeated utterance of prayers reminds one of the Buddhists. The offering of tobacco to Kaduthaswamy can be considered to be taken from the Shaktists.

Those who decide to go to Sabarimala need to observe strict celibacy. The procession of Malikappurathamma to Saramkuthy and her return without any exuberance shows one the patience, endurance and mental strength a man can achieve. The ghee filled coconuts in the blazing fire hearth symbolizes the burn off of one’s selfishness. A bath in river Pampa stands for driving away the sins one committed in his life.

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Sabarimala – The reality

The Pandalam Royal Family has its roots in Tamil Nadu. The members of the Pandalam Royal Family are descendants of the Pandya dynasty of Madurai. The Pandya Kings fled to today’s Kerala in two groups, after losing the battle against Malik Khafer, the General of the then Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji. One group settled down in Punjar (Kottayam Dist) and the other in Pandalam in 1202 AD. The then ruler of Venad helped them establish the Kingdom of Pandalam. The Kingdom of Pandalam extended to over 1,000 square miles. The royal family of Pandalam belongs to the 'Bhargava Gothra' while other Kshatriya families in Kerala belong to the 'Viswamithra Gothra'. Secularism was one of the prime principles of Pandalam dynasty and they helped the other religious followers to build a mosque at Kadakkad and a church at Kudassanad. It is also believed that those who settled down in Pandalam had sympathies toward the Buddhist beliefs.

There is no clear evidence as to when did the pilgrimage to Sabarimala begin. After the instauration of the temple, it left unreached for about three centuries. One of the Kings in the later generation rediscovered the traditional paths to reach Sabarimala. He had many followers with him, including the descendants of the Vavar family. They refreshed their resources at Erumely and this marked the beginning of the famous Petta Thullal at Erumely. They laid down their arms at the place today known as Saramkuthy. Those who are on their maiden visits to Sabarimala thrust arrows at this place. The temple was then renovated. In 1821 AD, the kingdom of Pandalam was added to Travancore. 48 major temples including the Sabarimala temple were also added to Travancore. The idol was erected in 1910. The temple conflagrated in 1971 and underwent a major revamp.

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During the Sabarimala Vratham, the mind is made to withdraw from the worldly objects and is slowly directed towards Ayyappa. The aim is to reach Tat T

The logical history of Sabarimala is linked to the mythical history of Lord Ayyappa. It would be an arduous effort to find out the border at which the myth crosses over to reality and vice versa. Nonetheless, both the logical and mythical histories have their own significances.

Sabarimala – The myth

Sabarimala was once under the regime of the Pandalam dynasty. So there can’t be a mythical history for Sabarimala without the mythical histories of Lord Ayyappa and Pandalam dynasty.
Lord Ayyappa, the deity of Sabarimala had his human sojourn at Pandalam as the adopted son of the King of Pandalam. It is believed that the King of Pandalam, who didn’t have an offspring to assume his throne, got a baby from the banks of the river Pampa. The king heard an oracle that he should take the baby to his Palace and that the baby will show the intent of his birth at 12. Because the baby had a bell tied in a string around his neck, he was called Manikandan; meaning a person who has a bell around his neck. At 12, he would be known as Ayyappa. The King took the baby home and the Royal Family accepted the child as the Prince. But after some time, the Queen delivered a baby and the attention of all except the King in the Royal Family switched to the new born baby. The Minister in the Royal Palace told the Queen that unless Manikandan was thrown out of the Palace, her own son could not become the next King. He was playing on her jealousy. It worked out.
According to the directives from the Minister, the Queen pretended to have fallen ill. The Royal Family doctor prescribed her the milk of leopardess. It was also a trick of the Minister. He knew that Manikandan would take up the challenge. As expected, Manikandan went to the forest in search of leopardess-milk, despite resistance from the King. He was around 12 now. In the forest, in a fierce battle, he killed the demon queen Mahishi, who used to attack and kill the people and their cattle. She was even feared by the Gods. After she was killed, all the Gods praised and worshipped Manikandan. Knowing the intent of Manikandan’s visit, the King of the Gods, Indra, transfigured into a leopardess and the rest of the Gods joined them, as leopards. Manikandan climbed on top of the leopardess and led the way back to the Royal Palace.
Everyone was surprised to see the Prince coming with a group of leopards. Ayyappa took rest underneath a banyan tree. The Queen and the Minister were now frightened and confessed to the King about their misdeeds. Finally, the King came out himself with others to welcome his son to the Palace. Manikandan forgave the misdeeds of his mother, the Minister and others. Despite demands from the King that Manikandan should take over as the King of Pandalam, he nominated his younger brother to follow his father. He then took the King to the forest and told him that the intension of his human sojourn was complete and that he had to leave now. He then blazed away an arrow toward a hill. He asked the King to construct a shrine for him where the arrow alighted. He also requested his father to come annually to visit him at the shrine. Thus he gave up his human life and his divinity entered Sabarimala. Parasuram, another incarnation of Lord Mahavishnu, built the idol of Ayyappa and the architect among the Gods, Viswakarma built the temple in the Sabarimala (Sabari hills) at the place where the arrow alighted. This is the myth about Lord Ayyappa.

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Why Ayyappa Devotees Wear Black Dress to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple?

Majority of the pilgrims visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple wear black dress – black dhoti, trousers, shirt or T-shirt. Others opt for the saffron colored dress. The dress code is also part of the strict and rigorous preparations that a devotee undergoes before climbing the 18-steps to the Sabarimala Ayyappa shrine.

The usual custom is to observe strict austerities and self control for forty-one days preceding the visit to the temple. But nowadays most pilgrims do not follow all the rules associated with Sabarimala Vratham.
During the Sabarimala Vratham, the mind is made to withdraw from the worldly objects and is slowly directed towards Ayyappa. The aim is to reach Tat Tvam Asi – That Thou Art – everything is that Supreme Being.
The black clothes symbolically indicate a mind withdrawn from all materialist objects. The black cloth suggests the Ayyappa devotee is dead to the world of perceptions, emotions and thoughts and he is immersed in thought of Ayyappa.

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17-Nov-2008

Stage set for Sabarimala pilgrimage

The holy hillock Sabarimala has begun to reverberate with devotional chants as pilgrims in thousands began converging on the banks of the river Pampa on the eve of the commencement of the two-month long pilgrimage of the Ayyappa temple.

One of the biggest religious events of the country, attracting about 30 million deovotees a year, various government departments and the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the temple, are busy with last-minute preparations for the pilgrimage,which is set to begin tomorrow As devotees in thousands start arriving here from all over the country, security, crowd-management and pollution-control have emerged the biggest tasks of the authorities.
This year, security has been further strengthened by inducting additonal forces and commandos and installing surveillance devices around the shrine atop the hill, trekking route, base camp Pampa and other places where pilgrims converge.

A sprawling parking facility, where about 30,000 vehicles can be parked at a time, has been created at Nilackal camp, some 10 km from Pampa. The State Road Transport Corporation has launched round-the-clock chain services for carrying pilgrims from Nilackal to Pampa and back. A large number of doctors and paramedics have been roped in from various parts of the state for medicare services during the season.

The TDB has made foolproof arrangements for supply of prasadams like “aravana’ and ‘appam’ in view of flaws in management of prasadam supply last year.

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Accident Insurance Cover for Shabarimala Devotees

A new accident insurance policy titled ‘Dhanam Oriental Shabari Accidental Policy’ that has been introduced by Dhanalakshmi Bank in collaboration with the Oriental Insurance Company, was unveiled in the city recently.

Speaking on the occasion, S K Prasad, the Bank's Mangalore branch senior manager said, that the devotees can avail of the benefit of the policy by remitting a premium of Rs 40 in the bank's branch. The family members will be entitled to receive a sum of Rs one lac in case of death or disability for life suffered by devotees in case of any accident during the said pilgrimage and the injured will receive Rs 25,000 as medical treatment expenses under the policy.

Apart from the above, the Shabarimala Prasadam coupons for 'Aravanam', 'Appam' and 'Modakam' are also available in the bank for the devotees, he said

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Special Sabarimala services from KSRTC

Regular services will be conducted by the State Transport Corporation to Pampa from Thrissur. The service will begin from November 15 onwards. The special buses will have a seating capacity of about 48 persons will leave the KSRTC bus stand at Kokkalai at 8.45 pm. The Thrissur-Pampa bus fare is Rs 162, for which advance booking facility is available, the sources said.

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Rs 4 cr allotted for Sabarimala security

The President of the Sabarimala high power committee K Jayakumar said that Rs 4 crore has been set aside for security arrangements in Sabarimala.Strict security measures have been arranged in Pampa and the devotees will be allowed to enter only after a thorough check by metal detectors.The temple had received Rs 2,75,000 as `nada' offerings yesterday evening itself. Last year it was Rs 1,35,000.

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Heavy rush felt in Sabarimala

With the rituals began with tantri Kandararu Rajivararu performing ganapathy homam yesterday morning, heavy rush was palpable in the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala which was opened for the mandala-makaravilakku pilgrim season.Security has been beefed up following the rush. The temple received an amount of Rs 2,77,000 as nadavaravu.

The rituals began with tantri Kandararu Rajivararu performing ganapathy homam yesterday morning. As devotees in thousands start arriving here from all over the country, security, crowd-management and pollution-control have emerged the biggest tasks of the authorities.This year, security has been further strengthened by inducting additional forces and commandos and installing surveillance devices around the shrine atop the hill, trekking route, base camp Pampa and other places where pilgrims converge.A sprawling parking facility, where about 30,000 vehicles can be parked at a time, has been created at Nilackal camp, some 10 km from Pampa.

The State Road Transport Corporation has launched round-the-clock chain services for carrying pilgrims from Nilackal to Pampa and back. A large number of doctors and paramedics have been roped in from various parts of the state for medicare services during the season.The TDB has made foolproof arrangements for supply of prasadams like 'aravana' and 'appam' in view of flaws in management of prasadam supply last year.
Source:http://insidekerala.com

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Emergency medical care unit opened by AIMS for pilgrims at Sabarimala

An Emergency medical care unit was opened at Sabarimala by the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi, at Pampa. It was inaugurated by the Devaswom minister G. Sudhakaran. He was very appreciative of the free health care offered by the Amrithananthamai Math for the pilgrims.

The services of the math was also lauded during the time when the govt. doctors went on strike. He said that it was the selfless service by a committed team of professionals that was the success of the AIMS medical team at Sabarimala. the Devaswom Minister said.Poor medical facilities at the pilgrim centres has been a growing concern in the area. The death of the excise inspector recently at Sabarimala due to lack of proper medical care had raised much criticism over the healthcare system available at Sabarimala.

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14-Nov-2008

Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple Mandalam Season 2008 – 2009 – opening and closing dates of the Ayyappa Temple during Mandala Kalam

The world famous Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala remains continuously open only during the famous Makaravilaku – Mandala Puja season (November – December – January). The two month pilgrim season, popularly known as Mandala Kalam, attracts millions of devotees to this hill shrine dedicated to Sastha or Ayyappa. The annual pilgrimage begins in mid November and ends in mid January with the Makaravilakku. In 2008, the date of opening of the Ayyappa Temple for Mandalam season is November 16. Here is the schedule for the Sabarimala Pilgrimage in 2008-2009:

Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam Begins on November 15, 2008 at 1730 hrs.

Mandala Masam or Mandala Kalam begins on November 16, 2008.

Mandala Pooja is on December 26, 2008.

Temple closes after Mandala Pooja on December 26, 2008 at 2230 hrs.

The shrine then closes for a brief period and reopens for Makaravilakku festival.

Temple re-opens for Makara Vilakku Session on December 30, 2008 at 1730 hrs.

Makaravilakku is on January 14, 2009. The famous Makarajyothi sighting also will take place on this day.

Temple closes on January 20, 2009 at 2200 hrs.

The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is located in the forests of the Sabari Hills of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 meter. Pamba is the important base camp on the way to Sabarimala temple and from here one has to trek 5 km to reach the temple.

A pilgrim visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple during the Mandalapooja period observes certain austerities for 41 days. The pilgrim should abstain from non- vegetarian habits, should not indulge in sex and should wear the special Rudraksha mala.

Some people don’t shave or cut their hair during the period. Some ardent devotees only wear black or saffron dress and avoid wearing foot wears.

Pilgrims set out in groups and each carry the Irumudikkettu, a cloth bundle containing traditional offerings to the temple which includes coconut, ghee, malar, rice etc.

People of all religions can visit the Sabarimala temple and there is no restriction of caste or creed. But there are certain restrictions on women. Only those women who have either passed their fertility age and those before reaching the stage of puberty are allowed in the shrine.

Free food is provided during the period in Pampa, the base camp before the trek to the temple.

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Vrishchikam – Malayalam month Vrischikam

Vrishchikam, or Vrischikam Masam, is the fourth month in traditional Malayalam calendar and is highly auspicious month for Ayyappa Devotees. The 41-day Sabarimala Vratham starts on Vrischikam 1 which is popularly known as Mandala Kalam. The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple remains open continuously for 41 days starting from Vrishchikam month. In 2008, Vrischikam month is from November 16 to December 15. As per Malayalam Calendar this is Kolla Varsham 1184.

Some of the other important auspicious days in the month include Triprayar Ekadasi, Guruvayoor Ekadasi and Trikarthika. Vrischikam 1 is known as Mandala Kala Arabham or beginning of the Sabarimala season.

The month is mainly noted for the Sabarimala Mandala Kalam and the inflow of millions of Ayyappa devotees to the hill shrine.

The corresponding month in Tamil Calendar is Kartik or Karthigai.

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Biweekly Garib Rath for Sabarimala pilgrims

A bi-weekly Garib Rath train will run on the Yeswantpur-Kochuveli-Yeswantpur route from November 16 to January 27 for the smooth transport of Sabarimala pilgrims from Bangalore. Train no. 0677 will leave Yeswantpur on Sundays and Tuesdays at 9 p.m and reach Kochuveli at 12.40 p.m the next day.

Its pairing train 0678 will leave Kochuveli on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and reach Yeswantpur at 11.30 a.m the next day. The first service will leave Yeswantpur on November 16 and the final service will leave on January 27, 2009.




The train will stop at Kollam, Kayamkulam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam Town, Aluva, Thrissur, Palakkad, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Hosur and Banaswadi. There will be 16 AC 3-tier coaches in the train. The fare from Kochuveli to Yeswantpur will be Rs 531.

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13-Nov-2008

Significance of the ghee-filled coconut offered at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple

One of the most important offering at the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala is the ghee-filled coconut. The ghee taken in the coconut is poured on the idol and the coconut is thrown into the ‘homakundam’ in front of the temple.
Symbolically, the ‘ghee’ in the coconut represents the ‘soul.’ And the human body is represented by the coconut. After the arduous trek, when a devotee stands face to face with Lord Ayyappa – the ghee poured on the Lord symbolically represents the merging of the individual soul with the universal soul or the ‘Jivatma’ with ‘Paramatma.’

Finally, the empty coconut, which represents the body, is consumed by the fire in the ‘homakundam.’

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How to observe Sabarimala Mandala Vratham?



Lord Ayyappa devotees who wish to go to Sabarimala Temple observe vratham or follow certain austerities for one mandalam season that is 41 days. The main aim of the Mandala Kala Vratam is to purify the mind and soul. In 2007, the Sabarimala Mandala Vratham begins on November 17 and ends on December 27.
The Mandalam season begins in the Malayalam month Vrichikam and ends in the middle of Dhanu month.
The Mandala Vratham is also observed by many devotees who don’t intent to go to Sabarimala Temple.

Austerities followed during Mandala Vratham

Waking up early and having a bath.
Many people visit a nearby shrine or pray at home.
Most devotees take food only after bath.
Non-vegetarian food is totally avoided during the 41 day period.
Devotees try to consume freshly cooked vegetarian food.
Evening bath and visiting a shrine or puja at home is performed.
Most devotees observe Brahmacharyam (no sex or celibacy) during the vratham period.

Those devotees going to the Sabarimala temple apart from observing the austerities wear a mala made from Rudrakhsam or Tulsi beeds. This ritual is known as Maladharan. It is performed at a temple or in one’s own house after performing a simple puja. The garland is received from a temple priest or from a guruswami or from an elderly person amidst chanting of Swami Saranam.
Devotees during this period wear blue, black or ochre (yellow-orange color) dress. Most devotees do not cut their hair or shave during the Mandalam period.

Some strict Ayyappa devotees even avoid wearing footwear during this period.

Even after visiting the Sabarimala temple, some people complete the 41-day period of Vratham. Some people terminate the Vratham after visiting the shrine.

Nowadays many devotees wear the garland a couple of days prior to visiting the shrine or on the day of visiting the shrine. And several devotees don’t strictly follow the traditional Vratham.
Sant Keshavadas writes in the book 'Self-Realization'

A man who practices any spiritual discipline rigidly, at any cost, is really doing ‘tapas’. The inner meaning of ‘tapas’ is burning. It burns all karmas and all ignorance. The daily practice of ‘Sandhya Vandana’ or morning and evening meditation, daily reading of the holy texts, daily chanting of the ‘Gayatri Mantra’ for a number of times, daily worshipping god, are all ‘tapas’. If it is rigidly practiced at least for forty days at a stretch one should certainly reach one step higher than before in the path of truth. The Vedas declare: The foundation of all creation is ‘tapas’.
It is up to each individual whether he/she wants to perform the traditional austerities or not.

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How to do Irumudi kettu for Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple?

Ayyappa Devotees visiting the Sabarimala Temple carry the Irumudi – a specially designed bag with two compartments. This ceremony is referred as Kettunira or Palli Kettu. The front portion of the bag is meant for keeping the puja articles and other offerings to the deities at Sabarimala. The other compartment is meant for holding the personal belongings.


But nowadays both the compartments are filled with puja items. Earlier, the journey used to be of two to three days and therefore people used to carry provisions in the second compartment.

Puja Items Needed


A coconut filled with Ghee

Two coconutsArecanut (Supari)

Betel leafCoins

Turmeric Powder

SandalVibhuthi (Sacred Ash)

Rose Water

Rice Avil (Beaten rice)

Malar (Puffed rice)

Jaggery or Small

banana

Kalkandam (Sugar Candy)

Agarbathis

Camphor

Pepper (For Vavar)
Small bottle of honey (optional)

Dry grape (optional)
Towels (for personal use)


While buying the bag, make sure that it has enough space and can hold the puja items.
The ‘kettunira’ ceremony is done on the day of the pilgrimage. It is conducted usually in one’s own home or at a nearby temple.


How to prepare the ghee-filled coconut?


Take a small or medium sized ripe coconut. Polish the shell. Pierce a hole through anyone of the eye of the coconut. Drain the water and leave it to dry. (This should be done a few hours before the kettunira ceremony)


After praying to Lord Ganesha and to Ayyappa, it is time to fill the ‘mudra’ coconut with ghee. This ghee-filled coconut is the main offering to Lord Ayyappa.


This should be done by the devotee visiting the shrine by chanting ‘Swami Sharanam.’ After completely filling the coconut with fresh ghee, the opening of the coconut is corked and sealed using wax or other seals.


Filling the Front portion of the Bag


Rice is taken with both hands and is dropped into the front compartment of the Irumudi. This is done three times. Some devotees put the first rice along with a betel leaf. Family members can also fill rice in the front portion.


The ghee-filled coconut is then placed on top of the rice in the front compartment.
Coins, money, betel leaves and arecanut are also placed on top of the rice.


Other puja articles are separately wrapped and placed in the compartment this include – camphor, incense sticks, rose water, jaggery, sandal paste, vibhuthi.


Filling the Rear portion of the Bag


Two coconuts – one for breaking at the time of climbing the sacred 18 steps and another for breaking while coming out of the shrine.


Malar, avil, turmeric powder, and kumkum are separately packed and kept for Malikappurathamma in the rear portion.


Pepper is taken in this compartment of Vavar Swami.
If you want to fill the rear portion of the bag with personal items then these above mentioned puja items too can be filled in the front portion.


Once the Irumudi is filled, it symbolically represents the deity and it is held reverentially and is not kept on the ground. Usually it is placed on a sheet or wollen rug. If the journey is for more than one day, Pujas are done in the morning and evening on the Irumudi. While walking, the Irumudi is balanced on the head.

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How to Avoid Health Problems While Climbing to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple?

Pada Balam Tha…Deha Balam Tha... (Ayyappa give strength to our feet and body to reach your abode) is a popular chant used by devotees climbing the hill to reach the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. Most modern day Ayyappa devotees who are not used to walking and doing physical work need all the blessings of Lord Ayyappa to reach his abode and return safely. Heart Attack is one of the most common health risks that pilgrims face while climbing the Sabarimala hill.
Here are few tips to Avoid Health Problems While Climbing to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple
Devotees who have coronary heart disease should consult a doctor before deciding to climb the Sabarimala hill. It would be ideal, if all Ayyappa devotees aged above forty consult a doctor a week before starting the journey to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple.

Unusual panting (breathing heavily) while climbing steps – this is a clear warning signal and such people should consult a doctor before deciding on the journey.

Only use boiled water. Majority of the diseases can be avoided by strictly using only boiled water or by carrying water from home.

Maximum Ayyappa devotees suffer stroke while climbing Nili Mala, the most strenuous part of the trek due the steep climb. There is a cardiac center on top of Nili Mala and devotees should immediately carry the person to the center.

People suffering from hypertension, diabetes, Asthma, fits and seizures, hyperglycemia, pulmonary edema, and other heart ailments should consult a doctor before the journey.
There is a medical camp at Pamba, the base camp before beginning the trekking, and devotees who have any sort of discomfort should undergo a check up before starting the trek.
While trekking, if you feel any discomfort like breathing problem, body pain or unusual sweating take immediate medical help.

Diabetic patients should take advice from their doctors before starting the Sabarimala Vratham and also regarding the precautions to be taken while climbing the hill.

People suffering from Asthma or other lung diseases should carry inhaler with them.
During windy days, the Manjal (Turmeric powder) and Kum Kum in air can cause irritation to eyes if you are in and around the Ayyappa Temple. Take precautions to avoid such situations.
Collect telephone numbers of police, information center and hospitals from Pamba before starting the trek.

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KSEB ensures uninterrupted power supply in Sabarimala

All arrangements have been undertaken by the the Electricity Board to make sure that the power supply to Sabarimala faces no interruption. The Electricity Minister, A.K.Balan, has convened a conference of officers of the KSEB in the Devaswom Hall at Pampa tomorrow morning to review the arrangements.

Source: http://insidekerala.com

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Sabarimala temple prepares for annual pilgrimage frenzy

Kerala's famed Sabarimala temple is getting set to receive nearly five million devotees during the two-month-long annual pilgrimage season that begins on Sunday.

Facilities being made available for pilgrims include oxygen parlours and pre-paid bank coupons for holy offerings. Although the temple dedicated to Hindu god Ayyappa receives devotees throughout the year, the pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Hindu month of Vrischikam and ends on the first day of the month of Makaram - in the third week of January. The temple, on top of a hill at an altitude of 914 metres, is four kilometres from Pamba town in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala and is accessible only by foot.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) that runs the shrine has set up oxygen parlours en route for pilgrims who feel breathless. The TDB has also tied up with the Dhanalakshmi Bank to make the process of selling prasadam (holy offering) easier. Pilgrims can buy coupons from 182 bank branches across the state and exchange them for prasadam at the temple. The state forest department has also made arrangements for water at Rs.12 per bottle. Pilgrims will be refunded Rs.1 on the return of each bottle. "The water we supply will have the certification of the Bureau of Indian Standards. We are taking the bottles back because over the years managing plastic waste has been the biggest challenge for us," said Forest Minister Binoy Viswam.

The railways has announced that it will run trains with additional coaches, while the state transport corporation has said it will operate extra buses for Sabarimala pilgrims. Nearly 3,000 policemen and 5,000 other government officials, including healthcare personnel, will be deployed in the region during the pilgrimage season. The pilgrimage is preceded by an intense 41-day penance during which the devotee walks barefoot, wears a black dhoti (garment to cover lower half of the body) and follows a strict vegetarian diet.

The Sabarimala temple bars the entry of women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause. In 2006, Kannada actress and producer Jaimala triggered a controversy by claiming that she had broken tradition by entering the temple in 1987. When devotees set off on the pilgrimage, they carry coconuts and ghee (clarified butter). Once they reach the temple, the coconuts are broken and filled with the ghee, which is later ceremoniously poured on the idol of Ayyappa. The ghee-filled coconut symbolises man's ego shrouding his soul. When the ghee is released from the coconut and anoints the idol of Ayyappa, the essence of the devotee's soul is said to unite with god, thus bringing the pilgrimage to its zenith.
Source:http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

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Erumeli Ready For Sabarimala Devotees


source: www.manoramaonline.com

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12-Nov-2008

Ayyappa Pooja Vidanam || Rules For Ayyappa pooja

(After having taken baath and worshipped the house diety, the devotee should make all arrangements for the pooja. The photo or idol of swami Ayyapa has to be placed on a raised platform with 18 steps decorated with flowers. Is The pooja procedure in as below.)

Ganapathy Pooja

Parathana:
With folded hands the devottee has to pray:

"Suklambambaradharam Vishnum
Sadhivaranam Chaturbhujam
Prasannavathanam dhyayet
Sarva vignopathantaye"

Now the sacred bell (Ghanta) has to be sounded to ward off evil forces:

"Aaagamartham to devannam
Gamanaartham to rakhsaamKuru
ghantaravam tatra
Devatahvana lanchanam"

Pranayam:

Aum bhooh - Aum bhuvah - Aum Suvah
Aum - mahah - Aum Janah - Aum Tapah
Aum Satyam - Aum tatsaviturvarenyam
Bhargodevasya dheemahi dhiyo yonahprachodayat
Omapojyotirasmritam brahamah bhoor bhuvah suvarom.

Samkalpa:Having recited the day, nakshatra, etc, one has to pronounce as below :Mama upaatta samasta duritakshayadvara. Sri Parameswara preetyartham - Karishyadvarasya - Sri Hariharaputra Pooja Karmanah nirvighnena Parisamptyartham Adu Sriman mahaganapathi Poojam Karishye

Aaasanam SamarpayamiArkayam Samarpayami
Paadyam SamarpayamiAchamaneeyam
SamarpayamiSnanam SamarpayamiSnananandaram
Achamanyam SamarpayamiVastra
Yagnopavidha uthriya abhanartham akshadham
SamarpayamiDivya Kandhan tharayamiDivya
Kandhastha harithra kumkumam Samarpayami
Puspamalam SamarpayamiGanesh Pooja

Offer workship to Ganesh's Photo / Idol / Deepam:

Aum Sumukhya Namah
Aum Ekadantaya namah
Aum Kapilaya namah
Aum Gajakarnakaya namah
Aum Lambodaraya namah
Aum Vikataya namah
Aum Vighnaraajasya namah
Aum Ganadhhipaya namah
Aum Dhoomaketave namah
Aum Gandhyakshya namah
Aum Phalachandaya namah
Aum Gajananaya namah
Aum Vakratundaya namah
Aum Shoorpakarnaya namah
Aum Herambaya namah
Aum Skandapoorvajaya namah
Aum Sreeman Mahaganapataye NamahNanavidha divya parimala pushpani Samarpayami. (offer flowers)

fOR mORE mantras and details pls visit:
http://www.ayyappan-ldc.com/ayyappan.info_ayyappanpooja.html

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Ayyappa Swamy Deeksha

IT IS that time of the year when those staunch devotees take out their black (or orange) attire and rudraksha beads - it is time for Ayyappa devotees, called swamis, to take up the 40-day `deeksha'

— restraining the devotee from wearing any other coloured clothes, eating out, wearing footwear and sleeping on the cot/mattress — which culminates in a visit to the temple of the Lord at Sabarimala, on the banks of river Pampa in Kerala. Many devotees are attracted to Ayyappa. Just uttering `Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa' a few times, believe the bhaktas, will rid them of all sins and lead to salvation.

In this season, other aspects like the sale of black clothes, music albums and the mad rush for bulk bookings to the temple town is on the rise.

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Lack of proper health care: one more death at Sabarimala

Lack of proper health care system has claimed one more life in Sabarimala. It was the Excise Inspector D. Suresh Kumar(46) who had this misfortune. He passed away on Monday night. With this the death toll in Sabarimala due to poor medical facilities have risen upto two within one month.

Suresh Kumar who was on duty at Sannidhanam faced severe chest pain. He died while he was being carried to Pampa for treatment. Suresh Kumar had joined Sabarimala duty on Monday morning. He an inspector in Perinthalmanna range.

Officials from different govt. offices are deployed at Sabarimala to supervise various preparatory works in connection with the pilgrim season beginning on the 15th of this month. About 2000 persons are on duty here. But the services of the medical department will begin on 15th. Doctors will come to duty only from 15th. The govt. employees who needed any treatment until then will have to travel till Pampa, (65KM) to get medical assistance.
source:http://insidekerala.com/

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Ernakulam Bangalore Special trains

Railways have introduced special trains from Kochi to Bangalore to ease congestion during the Sabarimala and Christmas seasons.

Train No. 641 Ernakulam-Bangalore Special will leave here at 9.15 p.m. on Thursdays and arrive in Bangalore at 10 a.m. the next day, beginning November 13 till December 25.

In the return direction, Train No. 642 will leave Bangalore City at 6.50 p.m. on Fridays and arrive here at 6.30 a.m. the next day, from November 14 till December 26.

Train No. 647 will leave here at 6.40 p.m. on Mondays and arrive in Bangalore at 6.30 a.m., beginning November 17 till December 29. The return train will run on Tuesdays, starting from Bangalore at 5.15 p.m. and arriving here at 4.20 a.m., beginning November 18 till December 30.

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Places Of Interests Near Sabarimala

NILACKAL MAHADEVAR TEMPLE: This is an important Temple enroute to Sabarimala and located between Plappally and Pampa. This is an intermediate halting area (with parking facilities).


ERUMELI SASTHA TEMPLE: Erumeli Sastha Temple, an important meeting place in the pilgrimage trip to Sabarimala is famous on many counts. There is also a Muslim Temple very near to the Sastha Temple. Ayyappans go to Sabarimala after worshipping at these two temples, that symbolise the Hindu-Muslim unity. The pilgrims go to Sabarimala after 'Pettathullal' at Erumeli. Pilgrimage to Sabarimala without Pettathullal and worship at the above mentioned temples is against the traditional dogmas. Erumeli Temple is at a distance of 38 Kms from Kottayam. Nearest Railway station is Kottayam.


PANDALAM VALIYAKOYICKAL TEMPLE: According to legend Ayyaappa as a babe was found lying on the banks of the river Pampa, by the Raja of Pandalam. The Raja had no issue and the child was considered as a God-given gift. It was therefore brought up in court with all regal honours. Ayyappan grew up endowed with heavenly splendour, super human wisdom and physical powers. Sree Dharmaa Sastha of Pandalam Valiyakoyickal Temple is Dharma Deva to King to Pandalam. One of the Major events associated with the Makaravilakku Festival is the procession of the Thiruvabharanam of Lord Ayyappa from this Temple. The nearest town and railway station is Chengannoor-12 Kms away.


KULATHUPUZHA SASTHA TEMPLE: The Sastha Temple at Kulathupuzha is a very ancient one. The idol at Kulathupuzha is called 'Manikantan'. It is believed that the Temple was constructed by the Raja of Pandalam. But the idol was discovered by a Brahmin from Kottarakkara after several years and he started pooja there. The King of Kottarakkara heard about this and he constructed the present temple. Feeding the fishes in the nearby river is an important vazhipadu in the Temple.


ACHANKOIL SASTHA TEMPLE: Achankoil Sastha (Arachan) temple is a sacred place of worship where pilgrims from Kerala and Tamilnadu come in groups through out the year. According to a legend the God gave 'Darshan' to a worshipper who had undertaken long term penance at Kandamala, where the the present temple stands. The main festival season here comes during the Mandalam puja. The nearest town and railway station is Shenkottah-Tamil Nadu.


ARYANKAVU SASTHA TEMPLE: The legend behind the Ayyappa of Aryankavu is similar to that of Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha. The only difference between the two is that Sastha was brough up by the Pandi Raja of Madura and not the Raja of Pandalam. The temple is constructed about 35 feet below the road level. It is at a distance of 2 kms from the majestic Pallaruvi waterfalls located in the deep dense forests. It is believed that Ayyappa had relationship with Sourashtrans while living in the palace of Raja of Madura. Even now Sourashtrans reach here in groups during the time of Mandalapooja. The temple rests 86 Kms away from Thiruvananthapuram.

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STORY OF SWAMY AYYAPPA

The Maharaja of Pandalam was very sad and unhappy because he had no off spring. He had done many poojas and homas in order to get a son. But all went in vain. One day while hunting, the Pandalam Raja found on the bank of the river a charming child - really a divine baby. He took the child to the palace and brought him up as his own, calling him ''Manikanta'' as he wore a glittering necklace.

The queen of Pandalam did not like the action of the Raja, but she wisely hid her displeasure from the Raja and others. Soon she gave birth to a child and the Raja named him Rajendra, it is stated. The two children grew up as children of the same parents but Manikantan excelled the royal Prince in all respects. No wonder the queen's displeasure grew stronger every day. She secretly planned to do away with Manikantan, but her attempt failed. In course of time the Raja decided to make Manikantan, the elder of the two children, the heir apparent to the kingdom. The queen resented this, but she was helpless.

The King had a wicked minister who had a strong dislike for Manikantan. He came to help the queen. He advised her to feign serious illness. Physicians were consulted and one of them, the Minister's own man, prescribed leopards milk as the only remedy for the disease. But who was there to undertake the task of fetching leopard's milk.

Manikantan readily agreed. With great reluctance the Raja gave permission and the boy proceeded to the forest alone carrying on his head an "Irumudikettu' (a bag with two compartments containing articles of food)..

When the Lord reached the forest, the Devas who were harassed by Mahishi approached the Lord as advised by Brahma and implored him to save them from Mahishi. The Lord met Mahishi in battle and killed her. The corpse was taken to the hill ''Azhutha'' and covered with sand and stones. Pilgrims proceeding to Sabarimala through Azhutha even now throw a stone at the place which is known as ''Kallidumkunnu''. The Lord who came out victorious in the battle with Mahishi was placed on a ''palanquin'' by the Bhoothas who came to witness the battle and there were great rejoicings.

The ''Pettathullal'' conducted at Erumeli is believed to be a reminiscence of the fight between the Lord and Mahishi, and the consequent rejoicings. The place name ''Erumeli'' is derived from the word ''Eruma'' which is Malayalam for buffalo or ''Mahishi''.

When the battle was over, Lord Siva appeared before Manikantan and reminded him of the fact that the object of his birth had been fulfilled and that he should return to Pandalam with leopard's milk and enlighten the Raja by giving him an idea of the object of the birth. Lord Ayyappa returned to Pandalam leading a herd of leopards and requested the Raja to make use of their milk. All present were struck dumb with fear and they requested Manikantan to drive the leopards away. As Manikantan showed the gesture they at once disappeared. The queen, the wicked minister and all present craved pardon and he blessed them all. He also revealed to the Raja who he was, and why he took birth, and gave him blessings.

The Raja implored the Lord to reside permanently within his territory and bless his kingdom. The Lord agreed to this and advised the ruler to construct a temple at the place on the western side of the Neelimala. The Lord also ordained that devotees who would visit the temple carrying ''Irumutikettu'' and an arrow for protection against wild animals and performing bali (oblation) at Pampa would attain Moksha. After this the Lord aimed an arrow to the east and both the Lord and the arrow disappeared.

The name Sabarimala is believed to have derived from the sage Sabari of Ramayana times. It was on the west side of the Neelimala, where Sabari the saint had done severe penance, that Ayyappa temple was consructed. The shrine of Malikappuram on the western side of the Sabarimala temple is dedicated to Mahishi, otherwise known as ''Manjambika'' Manjamatha).

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Sabarimala Pilgrimage

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.
Pilgrims set out in groups under a leader, and each carry a cloth bundle called Irumudi kettu containing traditional offerings. Unlike certain Hindu temples, Sabarimala temple has no restrictions of caste or creed. The temple is open to males of all age groups and to women who have either passed their fertility age and those before reaching the stage of puberty.

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About Sabarimala

Sabarimala (0929 North 7706 East) is situated in the midst of 18 hills, in a bowl of land blessed with a small rivulet named `Urakuzhi Theertham'. The area is in the hilly regions east of Kerala bordering Tamilnadu. Elevation above mean sea level is approximately 1260 Metres/4135 Ft. Temples existed in each of the hills surrounding Sabarimala. While functional (and intact temples) exist at many places in surrounding areas like Nilackal, Kalaketi, Inchiparakotta and Karimala, remnants of old temples are visible in the remaining hills.
As advised by the Lord, the Raja of Pandalam

constructed the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala. It is also believed that there already existed the DharmaSastha temple at Sabarimala, one of the 64 temples established by Parasurama, and Lord Ayyappa merged into the deity there. The King (Raja) of Pandalam renovated/ reconstructed the temple, supervising the work by staying at Perunadu. He constructed an Ayyappa temple there also for performing his daily pooja of the Lord. Deities of Malikappurathamma, Kadutha swami and Vaver swami were installed as also the 'pathinettampadi' (holy 18 steps) and 'bhasmakulam'.


Sannidhanam is the area where the Ayyappa temple is situated. At Sannidhanam, devotees climb up the holy 18 steps to reach the Sanctum sanctorum. Arrangements are made for the devotees to crack coconuts on the right side of the steps. Now cracking of coconuts on the 18 steps is prohibited for safety reasons. The Malikappuram temple complex, sub temple of Vavar, Neyyabhishekam counters, prasadam counters, information centres, telephone and post office facility etc. are visible in and around Sannidhanam.


The Eighteen Steps: The Holy eighteen steps that lead to the shrine have been figuratively called Ponnu Pathinettampadi. ''Ponnu'' as an epithet denotes the holy touch of the Lord's feet. But now the epithet ''Ponnu'' has become literally true because the steps have been covered with gold coloured Panchaloham. Only those who observe 41 days penance and carry ''Irumudi Kettu'' can climb these divine steps. Climbing the 18 steps from the foot of the temple to reach the sanctum sanctorum for holy darshan is considered an important privilege of every devotee. The Pathinettampadi (18 steps) represents the eighteen stages one has to pass through to attain ''Moksha'' (salvation).


Malikappurthamma: Malikappurathamma is also known as Manjamatha. In importance She is next to Ayyappaswamy. The Manjamatha kovil is situated on the northwestern side of the main Sree Kovil. It is connected to Sannidhanam by an attractive fly over. The temple of Malikapuram faces east, while the Kochukadutha Swamy shrine faces west. The Nagadevas are there in the premises of Malikappuram Temple, whereas the abode of the Navagrahas on its north western side.


Bhasmakkulam (Place for sacred dip): One sacred place for bath at Sabarimala is Bhasmakulam. This is on the western side of the Sannidhanam. Pilgrims get purified by their dip in the holy water here. Legend says that Sabari entered the fire in the presence of Sri Rama and as a result her mortal remains were consumed. This pond has its name derived from this legend. The water in the pond is ever kept fresh and clean in spite of the constant use by pilgrims. Using oil and soap here are prohibited.


Neythoni: For those pilgrims who do not wish to take back the ghee they bring inside the coconut, there is a container called Neythoni(Ghee Canoe) into which they can pour out the ghee. It is placed near the Sreekovil. No payment is required for depositing the ghee in the Neythoni.
Urakkuzhi Theertham: The next place consecreated for holy bath is Kumbalam Thodu with Urakuzhi Theertham in it. This holy canal is about one km North of Malikapuram. This place is believed to be the most sacred place where Dharmasastha revealed himself in his Viswaroopa. Here there is a waterfall and a small creek in to which the water drains.This creek is named Urakuzhi. It seems to be a small hole. But when one sits in its bosom, it appears to be spacious enough to give a cool dip. It is believed that a bath in the Urakuzhi theertham washes off all the sins.


Coconut Aazhi (Homa kundam): There is a Homakundam (coconut aazhi) close to the main shrine in front of the pathinettampadi. A Homakundam is erected toward north-east of the holy 18 steps. After removing ghee for Neyyabhishakam the pilgrims throw the remaining coconuts into this sacred fireplace.


Makarajyothi: The most glorious sight at Sabarimala is the 'Makarajyothi'. It is actually the shining of a star in the evening of the day on which the Sun passes from the Equator to the South - the most auspicious moment in a year. On the Makaravilakku day, the ''MAKARAJYOTHI'' is seen at Ponnambalameedu situated towards east from Sabarimala. Thousands of devotees reach Sannidhanam to have the sacred darshan of Makarajyothi.

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10-Nov-2008

Preparations on for Sabari piligrimage

As the two-month-long annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season is to start on November 15, Kerala Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran on Wednesday visited the base camp Pampa and the hill shrine at ''Sannidhanam'' to review the arrangements for the event which attracts thousands of devotees.

The preparations now under way include the facility for parking 30,000 vehicles at a time at Nilakkal near Pampa and arrangements for uninterrupted supply of drinking water for the pilgrims’ at all major points, Sudhakaran told reporters after taking stock of the situation. An additional 600 metres of road had been built at Nilakkal to enable parking of the vehicles. The Home Department had earlier decided to deploy additional police contingent this year as part of enhancing the area's security.

The capacity of the plant for preparation of 'aravana' prasadam had been stepped up by installing three more units at Sannidhanam for making 15,000 containers of 900mg of the prasadam a day, he said. The medicare facilities at various points had also been strengthened by roping in services of more doctors and paramedical staff this year. A total of 25 ambulances would be used during the entire period.

The 1.5 km trekking path from Marakoottam to Sannidhanam would be laid with coir-mattings in six stretches to prevent the area becoming slushy during the rains, causing difficulties to the devotees, he said. An estimated three crore pilgrims visit the shrine for the ''Mandalapooja'' and ''Makaravilakku'' during the season.
Source: http://international.zeenews.com/inner1.asp?aid=203057&sid=ART&ssid=1

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Military help for Sabarimala pilgrimage

Defence Minister A.K. Antony has offered the military's help to the Kerala government, including providing helicopters, during the over two-month-long Sabarimala pilgrimage that begins Nov 16. The festival at the holy hill shrine, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, continues till the third week of January.

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan had requested the military's help for the pilgrimage that sees hundreds of thousands visiting the shrine. In his reply to the Kerala chief minister's letter, Antony said the military was willing to provide all help to meet emergency situations.The defence minister has ordered the Kochi naval headquarter and Coimbatore's Sulor naval base to arrange one helicopter each at the two bases during the pilgrimage season, an official in Antony's office told IANS.Antony, a former chief minister of Kerala, said he has also directed the force to be ready to meet any emergency situation during the pilgrimage.

He has requested the state government to contact the zonal military commanders in emergency situations.Meanwhile, authorities at the Sabarimala temple have made arrangements for helicopter landing at Nilackal near Pamba, a base camp for the pilgrims. An Indian Air Force helicopter, which flew in from Coimbatore, conducted a successful test landing at Nilackal Friday. The temple authorities Friday said the helicopter facility, arranged for the first time, would be used in case of emergency only and not to bring in pilgrims.

The temple is situated at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level and located four km from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district. Large numbers of pilgrims turn up at the shrine every year on 'Makar jyoti' day on Jan 14.
source:http://insidekerala.com/n/index.php?mod=article&cat=MainNews&article=26169

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Helicopter landing facility near Sabarimala temple now

Sabarimala (Kerala), Nov 7 (IANS) Authorities at the Sabarimala temple here have made arrangements for helicopter landing at Nilackal near Pamba during an emergency for use by the pilgrims.

The temple authorities said the helicopter facility has been arranged for the first time and would be used in case of emergency. It would not be used for bringing the pilgrims.

The temple opens Nov 16 for the festival season. The festival continues till the third week of January. The Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

An Indian Air Force helicopter, which flew in from Coimbatore, landed successfully at Nilackal but could not land at Sharamkuthi.

Nilackal, about 10 km from Pamba, is considered as the base camp for the pilgrims who arrive for pilgrimage to the Sabarimala shrine. Sharamkuthi is on the hilltop and nearer to the temple.
The temple, at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level and four km from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala, bars the entry of women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause.

Large numbers of pilgrims turn up at the shrine every year on 'Makar jyoti' day on Jan 14. This year a record one million devotees witnessed the 'Makar jyoti' light appear on the horizon in the evening.
source:http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20081107/812/tnl-helicopter-landing-facility-near-sab.html

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Permanant Hospital In Pampa


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Aravana Preparations Going Faster In Sabarimala


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Sabarimala prasadam through Dhanalakshmi Bank

Lord Ayyappa pilgrims visiting the famous Sabarimala temple during the current Manadala-Makaravillaku Festival can get their temple prasadam coupons from various branches of Dhanalakshmi Banks across the country.

Kerala Devaswom Minister G Sudhakaran on Sunday handed over the prasdam coupons to bank Managing Director Amithab Chathurvedi at a function held at the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) headoffice here.

It was for the first time that TDB had made this type of arrangement for distribution of prasadam coupons, a board release said.

Coupons would be sold for "Aravana", "Appam" and "Modakam" prasadams through the bank branches. Board President C K Guptan presided over the function. There is a huge demand for the prasadams during the two-month long annual festival and devotees had to stand in long queues in the temple complex to get the coupons.
Source:http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1204840

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Prasadam coupon handover tomorrow

Devaswom Minister G. Sudhakaran will hand over the prasadam coupons of Sabarimala temple to Amitabh Chaturvedi, managing director of Dhanalakshmi Bank, on November 10 at a function to be held at Devaswom Board office at 9.30 a.m.

The prasadam of the temple- appam, aravana and modakam- will be distributed through the bank this festival season. Travancore Devaswom Board president C.K. Guptan will preside over the function.

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07-Nov-2008

Thiruvabharanam - Holy Ornaments

Makaravilakku marks the grand finale of the two-month period of the Sabarimala pilgrimage. This follows the arrival of 'Thiruvabharanam' from Pandalam to Sannidhanam. Three days prior to this , the procession carrying the holy caskets containing the sacred ornaments , as also other relics and paraphernalia needed for special poojas at Sabarimala , starts on its long trek from Pandalam. A scion of the Pandalam royal family , chosen and blessed by the Valiya Thampuran (Senior Raja) accompanies the procession in a palanquin (pallakku).

28th Dhanu (around 12th January), the day the procession is to start, at 4 in the morning , the holy boxes are taken from Srampickal palace and moved to the temple for viewing and worship. 'Darshan' of the Ornaments and rendering of offerings to them on this occasion are believed to be highly auspicious and beneficial. Thousands queue by the sacred pieces now. At around 1 o'clock in the afternoon , a brahminy kite (popularly known as 'krishnapparunthu') is sighted circling majestically far above the temple. Devotees believe that this is Lord Vishnu upon 'Garuda' accompanying the Thiruvabharanam from Pandalam through Sabarimala where again the kite is found hovering above the temple synchronizing with the arrival of the procession there. The chanting of the Lord's name rises to a thunderous crescendo at the sight of the kite and deafening explosions of crackers rend the air. The Boxes are closed and taken out of the temple by specially deputed bearers. The ValiyaThampuran has already arrived in royal style from his Palace to the temple and is by now inside the temple to offer 'vibhuthy' to the members of the procession as also to his nephew whom he has chosen to escort the Thiruvabharanam.

The delegation of authority and responsibility by the Senior Raja to his representative is symbolized by the former handing over a sword to the latter Welcome group Khimsar Fort : Constructed in the 16th century, the Khims The frenzied movements of the bearers of the boxes, the rising tempo of the devotees chanting 'Swamiye-Ayyappo', the exploding fireworks, The Pandalam Raja accompanying the Thiruvabharanam in his palanquin, the infectious excitement of the surging crowds and the seemingly unperturbed hovering of the 'krishnapparunthu' far above-all make up an indescribably magnificent moment when the journey starts for the distant hill shrine, marking the fulfillment of a vow, the consummation of a dream, the vindication of a faith.
The procession takes the age-old route through village roads, across rivers and up and down hills. The Raja (Thampuran) and other members are accorded reception at various places by various devotee-groups, including tribals. All through the procession , people in large numbers pay their respects to the Raja and receive 'vibhuthy' from him. After scheduled halts at Ayroor-Puthiyukavu and Laha, the procession reaches Valiyanavattom(Pampa) on the 3rd day(1st Makaram). From there the Thiruvabharanam proceeds through the traditional forest route to Saramkuthi while the Thampuran (Raja) and his aides go to the Rajamandapam near the Pampa Ganapathy temple and stay there.

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Helicopter landing facility near Sabarimala temple now

Authorities at the Sabarimala temple here have made arrangements for helicopter landing at Nilackal near Pamba during an emergency for use by the pilgrims. The temple authorities said the helicopter facility has been arranged for the first time and would be used in case of emergency. It would not be used for bringing the pilgrims.

The temple opens Nov 16 for the festival season. The festival continues till the third week of January. The Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

An Indian Air Force helicopter, which flew in from Coimbatore, landed successfully at Nilackal but could not land at Sharamkuthi.

Nilackal, about 10 km from Pamba, is considered as the base camp for the pilgrims who arrive for pilgrimage to the Sabarimala shrine. Sharamkuthi is on the hilltop and nearer to the temple.
The temple, at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level and four km from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala, bars the entry of women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause.

Large numbers of pilgrims turn up at the shrine every year on ‘Makar jyoti’ day on Jan 14. This year a record one million devotees witnessed the ‘Makar jyoti’ light appear on the horizon in the evening.

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06-Nov-2008

Accomodation At Sannidhanam & Pampa

Devaswom Guest House at Sannidhanam

Accomodation For 3 Persons 375 Remit
" 4 Persons 600 Rs.50/- for
" 5 Persons 700 Extra bed

For Advance booking for accomodation in Devaswom guest houses contact:

Commissioner,
Travancore Devaswom Board,
Nanthancode,
Thiruvananthapuram.
Phone: 0471-2315156, 2316963, 2317983

For Booking from Sabarimala Contact:

Accomodation Office at Sannidhanam
Phone:04735-202049

Pilgrims can book rooms in advance in the guest house of Forest Department and Kerala State Electricity Board:
Sannidhanam Forest IB
Phone: 202074 / 202075

6 Room Rs.300 per day
Contact:Field Director,
Project Tiger Kottayam,
Kerala
Phone:0481-2565940

Sannidhanam KSEB IB
Phone: 202024

3 Rooms Rs.20/- per person.
1 Hall: Rs.10/- Per person
Contact: Board Secretary,
Vaidyuthi Bhavan
Thiruvananthapuram,
Phone:0471-2448989

Forest Department has also an IB Dormitary at Pamba. IB has 3Rooms (Rs.300 per day). Accomodation is available in the Dormitary for Rs.50 per person.

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Sabarimala Swamy Prasadam Via IndiaPost

Department of Posts on tie up with Travancore Devaswom Board will dispatch prasadam from Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa temple to devotees anywhere in India through Post. The Prasadam pack contains sealed items of the following:

Aravana1 Tin(250 ml)
Appam 1 Packet(5 Nos.)
Bhasmam &Kalabham 1 Packet ( Sandal paste of Sastha)
Bhasmam & Pepper of Vavaru Swami 1 Packet
Kumkumam & Manjal of Malikappuram 1 Packet
Abhishekam Ghee of Lord Ayyappa 10 ml.
A Small laminated picture of Lord Ayyappa 1


Interested devotees may remit Money Order of Rs.210/- (Rupees Two hundred & ten only) addressed to

The Executive Officer,
Travancore Devaswom Board,
Sabarimala 689713,
Pathanamthitta District,
Kerala.

M.O. Form should be superscribed as “Swami Prasadam“. No other form of remittance will be accepted.

For any further details please contact

Asst.Director(BD)
Chief Post Master General Office
Trivandrum 695033
Tel:0471-2305860
e-mail :adbdco.keralapost@gmail.com
Mob.9495549431

THE PRASADAM WILL BE DISPATCHED ON EVERY FIRST WEEK OF MALAYALAM MONTHS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

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Special trains for Sabarimala This Year

Southern Railway will run special trains to clear extra rush of passengers during Sabarimala season, a release from Southern railway said.

Train No 0635 Chennai Central-Kochuveli special will leave Chennai Central at 1515 hrs on Thursdays from November 13 to December 25 and arrive Kochuveli at 0730 hrs.

Train No 0636 Kochuveli-Chennai Central special will leave Kochuveli at 1100 hrson Fridays from November 14 to December 26 and arrive Chennai Central at 0450 hrs.

Train No 0657 Chennai Central-Kochuveli special will leave Chennai at 1515 hrs on Fridays, Mondays and Wednesdays from November 14 to December 29 and arrive Kochuveli at 0730 hrs the next day.

In the return direction Train No 0658 Kochuveli-Chennai Central special will leave Kochuveli at 1100 hrs on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from November 15 to December 29 and arrive Chennai Central at 0450 hrs the next day.

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Helicopter service under consideration in Sabarimala

The govt. has taken a favorable stand on the proposal of arranging helicopter service in Sabarimala of devotees. The project presented by a private company has already transferred to the govt. for consideration.

A Banglore based Bharath Airways Company had submitted its proposal to the Devaswom minister in this regard. The intention of the company is to conduct two services from Nedumbassery to Sabarimala. The govt. has submitted this proposal for the consideration of an apex committee in the High Court. The fare will be fixed by the management.

If a place is provided at Nilakkal for helipad it will be accepted. If not the company is ready to hire some private property in Ranni to erect a temporary helipad. The transportation from helipad to Sabarimala will be met by the company. There will be reduced charges for the phone calls of the pilgrims.

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Travel Informations To Sabamrimala

Distance Chart : Erumeli - Pampa
Pampa to Sabarimala (Sannidhanam)
Nearest Airports
Nearby Towns
Nearest Railheads
Means of Conveyance
Routes to Travel
Approximate Road Distances
Kerala State Road Transport Corporation Bus Schedule to and from Pampa

Distance chart:Erumeli Pampa

Erumeli - Kaalaketti - 11Kms
Kaalaketti - Azhutha - 2.5 Kms approx
Azhutha River - Pampa - 37 Kms approx
Peroor Thodu - Irumboonikara - 3 Kms (Forest starts from Irumbooni Kara)
Irumboonikara - Arasumdi Kotta - 3 Kms approx

Pampa to Sabarimala (Sannidhanam)

Pampa - Neelimala - Appachimedu - Sabaripeedom - Sannidhanam (Approx 7 Kms)
Three steep ascents are Azhutha Nadi to Inchiparakotta, Kariyilam Thodu to Karimala (on Erumeli - Pampa route) and Pampa - Neelimala (on the 7 Kms stretch from Pampa to Sannidhanam).

It is possible that some pilgrims may have some ailment which has not been detected so far. This is especially so in the case of middle aged and elderly pilgrims. This could lead to severe problems during the ascent up the steep slopes. As a precaution against undue cardiac stress (especially in the case of elderly pilgrims), it is advisable to rest frequently while negotiating steep slopes. In case of any chest pain, breathlessness, discomfort etc, please contact the nearest Cardiac Care Centres which have been established by ABASS.

In the month of December 2000, a top class Cardiac Care Centre has been inaugurated at the Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham auditorium by the Apollo Hospital Group. The centre is manned by 10 fully qualified doctors and 7 assistants. We are thankful to Apollo Hospital and Healthcare group for this humanitarian gesture.

The Appachimedu Cardiac Care Centre continues to be operated by ABASS.

Nearest Airport

Thiruvananthapuram (aka Trivandrum) is located at 0809 N 7655 E (About TVM Airport)
Kochi( aka Cochin) is located at 095638N 761623E. Please note that the airport is not the old Naval Airport (Old Naval Airport is no more available for civilian operations). The new international airport is at Nedumbassery which is nearly 30 kms away from the city.
Kozhikode(aka Calicut) is located at 1108 N 7557 E (About Cochin Airport)

Air India, Indian Airlines, Alliance Air, Jet Airways, Sahara Airlines, Air India, Air Lanka, Gulf Air, Silk Air and many leading foreign airlines operate to/from these airports.

Nearby Towns
(Where one could establish a base camp, rest and then proceed to Sabarimala)
Pampa is the closest `base camp’. But it tends to get overcrowded (during prime seasons) and has inherent shortage of built up living accommodation.

The other nearby towns are:-

Erumeli
Nearest Railwayheads
A large number of trains operate along Kochi - Alapuzha - Kollam route and Kochi - Kottayam - Kollam - Thiruvananthapuram route. These trains pass through or close to most of the towns mentioned above and one could disembark at any of these railway stations. During pilgrimage seasons, ABASS camps are established at most of these railway stations. Please approach them for guidance on further travel.

As the train schedules keep changing on a seasonal basis, it is essential to check with the railway authorities to find out the exact timings. Alternately, you can visit http://www.southernrailway.org/ to search and book your tickets.

Means of Conveyance

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operates regular bus services, from all important towns of Kerala to Pampa and Erumeli throughout the year. The number of trips are well augmented during the pilgrim season. Private taxis, utility vehicles and mini buses are also available for hire from any point en-route.

Routes To Travel
Typical Routes followed by pilgrims
Pampa
Kottayam - Pampa (via Erumeli) - 136 Kms
Kottayam- Pampa (via Thiruvalla, Pathanamthitta) - 123 Kms
Kottayam - Pmapa (via Manimala) - 116 Kms
Trivandrum - Pampa (via Kottarakara, Adoor, Pathanamthitta) - 188 Kms
Trivandrum - Pampa (via Punalur, Pathanamthitta)- 180 Kms
Adoor - Pampa (via Pathanamthitta) - 101 Kms
Punalur - Pampa (via Pathanamthitta) - 101 Kms
Chengannur - Pampa - 93 Kms
Ernakulam - Pampa(via Kottayam) - 200 Kms
Alapuzha - Pampa (via Changanacherry) - 137 Kms
Pandalam - Pampa (via Pathanamthitta) - 86 Kms
Uppupara - Sabarimala (trekking route only) - 4 Kms
Erumeli
Erumeli - Pampa (via Kalaketty, Azhutha, Karimala) - by foot - 40 Kms
Erumeli - Pampa (via Mukkottuthara, Pambavali) - 46 Kms
Erumeli - Pampa (via Athikkayam, Perunandu) - 78 Kms
Pathanamthitta - Erumeli (via Ranni) - 32 Kms
Panadalam - Erumeli (via Pathanamthitta) - 48 Kms
From Erumeli, the pilgrim can, if he so wishes , trek on foot along the forests to reach Pampa. The trekking distance from Erumeli to Pampa is 43 Kms. The route is via Peroorthodu, Irumbunnikara, Arasumudikotta, Kaalaketti, Azhutha, Azhutha River, Kallidum Kunnu, Inchipara, Mukkuzhi, Kariyilam Thodu, Karimala, Valiyana Thavalam, Cheriyana Thavalam, Pampa.

The route from Pampa to Sabarimala (approx 6 kms) can be undertaken only on foot. as this portion of the route is unfit for vehicular traffic. The various road routes available to Pampa are:-

Erumeli - Karimkulumoozhi - Ranni - Perinad - Vadaserikara - Plapalli- Chalakayam - Pampa.
Erumeli - Karimkulumoozhi - Muktuthara - Kanamala - Thulapalli - Plapalli - Chalakayam - Pampa (This route is not commonly used by pilgrims because it is narrow and winding)
Another route sometimes followed by pilgrims coming from Tamilnadu is via Kottayam - Kumali (KK) road. When they reach Vanchiperiyar on the KK Road, they turn to Uppupara. After reaching Uppupara, they have to walk 6 Kms to Sabarimala.


Due to lack of up-to-date consolidated details and frequent changes in bus schedules, these timings and ticket fares have been taken from a previous year’s schedule and is meant to provide rough guidelines only. They are liable to changes frequently and hence outdated. Please ascertain the correct data on your arrival in Kerala.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation Bus Schedule - Permanent Services From Pampa irrespective of pilgrimage season



Kerala State Road Transport Corporation additional Services from Pampa during the period 1st to 5th of each Malayalam calendar month (When the temple is open)

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus services to Pampa from other bus stations


http://keralastatertc.blogspot.com/2008/09/need-more-bus-services-to-pampa.html

http://keralastatertc.blogspot.com/2008/09/ksrtc-bus-time-from-pamba.html

For Train Timings From The Nearest railway Station Chengannur: Pls vist

http://www.chengannur.net/t_timings.php

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A Sabarimala Trip

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A Sabarimala Trip

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