Sabarimala Temple, abode to Lord Ayyappa, known as the god of Kaliyuga(modern era) is thronged by devotees from a state of Kerala ( where the temple is located), neighboring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
Many people from the Hindi speaking regions of the country also visit this place.
Lord Ayyappa is the redeemer of sins, and his auspicious sight pacifies the soul and instills peace.
This famous temple in Kerala is open for only three months in the year – November, December, and January.
In other months, it is open for five days.
The mode of fasting is very strict for devotees going to Sabarimala.
The fasting begins in Mandala masam – the period starting around 14 November to 27 December.
During the fasting period, there is strict abstinence from all luxury and pleasure such as drinking alcohol, smoking, sex and eating non-veg, even from cutting or shaving hair.
This temple is prohibited for women in the fertility age group.
Women below 11 years and over 60 are allowed in the temple.
Despite the difficult and turbulent route through forests over mountains, devotees experience great satisfaction visiting the lord’s abode.
Sabarimala Ayyappa temple is located in the Western Ghats in Pathanamthitta district included in Periyar Tiger Hill Reserve.
The temple is situated amidst 18 hills flanked by mountains and forests from all sides.
The journey takes place on an altitude of 1535 feet above the mean sea level.
Your route plan to Sabarimala includes two stages.
First is to reach the spot of Sabarimala hills where your vehicle will leave you.
The second is the trek onto the mountain leading to the temple.
Pilgrims usually travel in groups in both the stages of the journey.
Previously pilgrims had to leave their vehicles at Erumely which is at a distance of 54 km from the main temple.
Proceeding from here pilgrims travel through the route of poonkavanam-Inchipara- Karimala- banks of river Pampa.
There are many small rituals to be performed by the devotees in this journey before reaching the banks of river Pampa which are a sacred destination in this itinerary.
This is the route that Swami Ayyappan himself traveled to kill the demoness Mahishi.
At present, there are facilities made to go until Pampa river bank in the vehicle and proceed on feet thereon.
The trek from the Pampa banks to the temple is three hours long.
The distance is about 6 km.
Despite the challenges in the traditional route, some faithful pilgrims prefer to travel with it seeing the landmarks and obeying the rituals.
The chants of “Swami Sharanam” reverberates throughout the journey keeping the spirits of the devotees high.
The new route, however, saves time and effort.
The Pampa township is connected to the main cities in the state of Kerala by road and rail. Kerala Tour packages and trip booking are available
Sabarimala online booking start in full swing as the pilgrim season begins. Many major routes connect Sabarimala to various parts of the Kerala and neighboring states.
Once your reach any of the major cities of Kerala state, it will not be difficult to secure a good tour vehicle to Pampa or Erumeli for the main journey.
There are exclusive travel services conducted for this pilgrimage season itself with Sabarimala travel guide.
All the three modes of transport- road, rail and air can be availed by pilgrims coming from any part of the world.
Every year there is a large number of devotees from other southern states thronging the temple in large numbers.
Many popular tours and travel operators in Kerala conducted pilgrimage tour to sabarimala with best offers.
The nearest major airports in Kerala are Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Nedumbassery. All these places are well connected to the district of Pathanamthitta by rail and road.
Sabarimala can be reached through major six districts namely Ettumanoor, Kottayam, Changanassery, Tiruvalla, Chengannur, and Adoor.
For those coming from the South of Kerala, journey via Adoor is the easiest.
Pilgrims coming from the north have to travel through Kottayam district.
The distance from Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram airports are almost the same i.e. 160 km from Kochi and 170 km from Thiruvananthapuram by road.
Sabarimala is also well connected to the major airports in Tamil Nadu namely Madurai and Coimbatore.
From Coimbatore and Madurai, it is 315 km and 250 km respectively.
From these airports, one can easily reach the easiest mode of transport to Sabarimala rail or road.
The nearest railway station to Sabarimala is Chengannur railway station. In fact, this railway station is officially a gateway to Sabarimala.
It is most conveniently connected to people of Alappuzha, Kollam, and Pathanamthitta.
Chengannur is only 90 km away from the primary destination Pampa. Taxi services from Chengannur to Pamba can be availed conveniently.
In the case of if you are not able to reach up till Chengannur by train, there are other alternate routes.
Reach Alappuzha by train and reach Changanassery or Erumely by road. Or reach Kayamkulam by train and proceed via Adoor to Pathanamthitta district.
If you are coming from Thiruvananthapuram by train, you can take Thiruvalla or Chengannur journey by road to reach Sabarimala.
There are very efficient bus and travel services exclusively for the pilgrimage.
Most of the major cities in the neighboring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have easily accessible road transport to Sabarimala.
In fact, it is most convenient to travel by these particular tours and travels to reach the main destination directly.
From Karnataka, if you are coming from Mangalore or Mysore, you can reach Thrissur which is in the central part of Kerala.
Then take Muvattupuzha, Kottayam route to Sabarimala.
From Andhra Pradesh, Thrissur can be reached by Gudalur.
If you are coming from Tamil Nadu, take Coimbatore route to reach Thrissur.
From Madurai, Sabarimala is 250 km by road.
From Southern parts of Tamil Nadu take the Nagercoil route from where one has to take Thiruvananthapuram-Kottarakara-Adoor route.
In total, the journey from Nagercoil to Sabarimala will be 250 km.
The national highway NH47 takes you to Thiruvananthapuram directly from where you have to take Kollam- Kayamkulam route to Sabarimala.
From the main city of Ernakulam in central Kerala, Sabarimala is 165 km.
From Ernakulam, Sabarimala can be reached via Vaikom- Kottayam- Kanjirapally- Erumeli route to Sabarimala.
Roads connect Alappuzha to Changanassery which goes to Erumely.
Alappuzha-Thiruvalla-Kozhencherry-Pathanamthitta-Sabarimala is also a convenient route.
From Alappuzha, Sabarimala is 125 km.
The vehicles will drop you at Pampa from where another journey begins.
The Sabarimala map is full of hilly terrain, forests, steep trekking and slippery region.
Millions of devotee chants “Swami Sharanam” and complete the challenging trek of three hours (6 km) with their minds completely dedicated to the Lord’s service.
The three-hour long trek leads you to Pathinettampadi (18 steps) which is the foot of the temple.
Pathinettampadi is a flight of eighteen steps that leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord.
Devotees queue up to enter the temple.
In the year 2011, Kerala Police, which is responsible for looking after the order and security in the temple premises, started an online virtual booking system in which the devotee can register themselves and get their number in the queue.
They have to carry a print out (coupon) with their number.
Once the printout is shown, officials will give them their reserved place in the queue at the temple.
To book their slots on Sabarimala Virtual Queue Booking Portal, devotees have to register 6-8 weeks before the date of pilgrimage.
This reduces the hassle and time to deal with the crowd of pilgrims.
people without virtual booking are guided to a separate queue
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