FESTIVALS - Makaravilakku - January 15 2012

Sabarimala temple is the most famous and prominent among all the sastha Temples. It is believed that the, "Parasurama Maharshi" who uplifted Kerala from the sea by throwing his axe, installed the idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala. The pilgrimage begins in the month of May and ends in February. The temple attracts pilgrims not only from the southern states, but also from other parts of the country and abroad. The main pilgrimage is undertaken between November and January. Those wishing to perform pilgrimage have to undergo forty-one day’s penance consisting of strict celibacy, daily ablutions and daily prayers. Early mornings and evenings in the festival season Kerala villagers will be reverberating with dedication calls of Ayyappa devotees. Ayappa darsan on Makaravilakku day is the most important event of the pilgrimage.

Makaravillakku is the special day, when a mystical lamp appears from among the forest, opposite to the temple. Devotees throng the temple to see this lamp.

The route to the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala passes through the forests of the Sahyadri Mountains. The route to Sabarimala is thickly forested and its greenery and the scenic hills make it a beautiful location. Pilgrims who decide to make the pilgrimage need to observe strict self-discipline. A majority of the pilgrims are men. A fast for forty days, celibacy, growing a beard and daily prayer rituals are part of the preparation for the Sabarimala pilgrimage in Kerala, India.

Situated not far from the main temple at Sabarimala by the side, there is a shrine in the name of Vavar, a Muslim, who was thought to be a close aide of Sri Ayyappa. It is a rare experience to see the Hindu devotees worshipping at the shrine of Vavar indicating the communal harmony in Kerala.

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