Sabarimala: The sacred mountain
Amidst the virgin forest wilderness of the Western Ghats
lies the sacred mountain 'Sabarimala', a major pilgrim centre in India.
The landscape has vast unending stretches of forests, rivers and
plantations. Evergreen and moist deciduous forest cover half the total
district area. The holy Pamba river formed by the confluence of five
smaller rivers, descends from the Sabarimala. The sanctum sanctorum
nestles 914 metres above sea level.
The shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa who is believed
to have been born from the union of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, and
Lord Siva, the Destroyer. No woman devotee in the fertility age
group is allowed to proceed beyond Pamba. Devotees undertake rigorous
penance, ritualistic vows and fasts for 41 days before they visit the
temple. The main festivals are the Mandala pooja, the Makara
vilakku in December-January and the Vishu vilakku in April.
Millions of devotees, irrespective of caste, creed and colour, from all
over the country, climb the 18 sacred steps to the sanctum sanctorum for a
glimpse of Lord Ayyappa.
Inaccessible by road or rail,
one has to trek a distance of 4 km to reach the shrine. Transportation is
available only upto Pamba, which is 66 km from Pathanamthitta.
Nearest railway station:
28 km from Pathanamthitta
Nearest airports: Thiruvananthapuram
International Airport, about 119 km from Pathanamthitta; Cochin
International Airport, about 133 km from