Sabarimala Temple Home > Kerala > Attractions > Temples > Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala temple is one of the famous pilgrimage destinations in India and is probably having the largest turnout of pilgrim. Belonging to the class of Sastha temples, it is also named as Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Dharma Sastha temple. The shrine of this temple has the idol of Lord Ayyappa, with historical facts full of descriptions of life of Lord Ayyappa, who is also considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva. As per anecdotes, this was the hill top on which Ayyappan did his meditation as a brahmachari. Adding credence to the fact is the location of Sabarimala temple on top of a hill of height 468 mts, amidst the mountain ranges of Western Ghats in the district of Pathanamthitta in Kerala. Surrounding the hill on which this temple is situated, there are many other hills with temples of importance. Even though the temple is quite remote, requires travelling by foot for long distances through dense forests and mountainous landscapes, there are usually 3 to 4 million devotees coming on pilgrimage yearly. As per another legend, it is said that Parasurama Maharshi installed the idol of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala, after he brought back the land of Kerala from getting drowned in the sea.


Sabarimala pilgrimage takes devotees to the town of Sabarimala, which is one such temple in India where people of all faiths can visit. the time of pilgrimage starts from November and goes till January. High turnout of devotees is seen on specific days such as Mandala puja and Makara Sankranti or Makaravilakku. Apart from these days, temple is open for devotees in each Malayalam month for first five days and also during Vishu in April. During the rest of the days, the temple remains closed.

Languages Spoken

The primary language spoken in Sabarimala town and surrounding areas is Malayalam, which is also the language of the locals. Moreover, tamil is also found to be a common language in recent years, mostly among the migrants and labourers coming in from nearby state of tamil nadu. Furthermore, locals are also able to speak other south Indian languages, as well as English and hindi, because they need to cater to the high inflow of devotees from various places of India.

Get In

By Plane

Devotees can arrive in Cochin International Airport or Thiruvananthapuram International Airport at distances of about 104 and 113 kms respectively. These airports have direct international flights from Singapore, Middle East, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Special flights are arranged from Kochi airport to Sabarimala, during the busy mandala pilgrimage period.

By Helicopter

Helicopter services are also scheduled from Cochin Airport to the Nilakkal Helipad.

By Train

Railways stations are not found in the sabarimala township. Nearest railheads are present 30 kms away at Thiruvalla and 26 kms away at Chengannur.

By Bus

Buses are plying to sabarimala basecamp from various cities, with even direct services starting at Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. There are KSRTC buses as well as luxury buses run by private operators.

By Road

To Reach Pathanamthitta by Road

  • Kochi - Alappuzha - Changanassery - Tiruvalla - Pathanamthitta
  • Thiruvananthapuram - Kottarakkara - Adoor - Kaipattoor - Pathanamthitta
  • Munnar / Thekkadi - Kanjirappally - Erumeli - Ranni - Pathanamthitta
  • Thenkasi - Punalur - Konni - Pathanamthitta

Get Around

During the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, reaching the Sannidhanam or main temple from base camp is possible only on foot as there are no other options. Due to the forested area and mountainous landscape, automobile cannot travel. Dolly or special palanquin can be availed for old people, who would find it difficult to walk. Prices of dolly ranges around Rs 1000, which can be arranged from the base camp publicity office.

Temple Complex

During their visits to the temple of sabarimala, tourists have to trek a certain distance through mountainous and forested landscape, after which they reach the main temple. Apart from the hill on which this temple is situated, devotees will also find many other temples in the adjacent hills such as Kalaketi, Nilachal and Karimala. Most of the remaining hills have temples which are dilapidated.

After their trek ends, pilgrims will reach the Sannidhanam or main temple, which is present on the hill top. Sabarimala temple construction is quite unique as it consists of a single shrine built on a raised platform. Shrine can be reached by stepping on 18 steps which are golden and are considered to be the most sacred in terms of Vedas and scriptures. Climbing these steps can be difficult due to their steepness, but assistance is available from volunteers. Locally, these steps are known as Patinettampadi.

Architecturally, the temple has been so designed that there is also a ground floor, apart from the main sanctum, where the idol of Lord Ayyappa is present. In the ground floor are two temples, dedicated to Goddess Malikapurathamma and Lord Ganesh. Adjacent to the 18 steps of gold, there is a Homakunda, a fire pit of giant proportions, where the devotees burn coconuts, to get free of their sins. Two more shrines are situated by these steps also, which are also worshipped by the devotees.

Main Pujas and Offerings

In the sabarimala temple, main puja is done on occasions of the starting day and end day of mandala pilgrimage. There is also another important puja during the Makara Sankranti, during which the number of pilgrims is maximum. During the mandalam pilgrimage, there is an annual festival lasting for 10 days. Various other pujas are conducted in the temple on a day to day basis, when the temple remains open. There is the morning puja known as Usha Puja, afternoon puja or Ucha puja, Abhishekam and Padi puja, which is done on the 18 golden steps when the temple is being closed.

Pujas in the temple are a magnanimous affair, with offerings of ghee, the process being named as Neyyu Abhishekam. Ghee is brought by devotees in small vessels known as Irumudi Kettus. Offerings of flower are also done which is known as Pushabhishekam while ash offerings are known as Bhasma Abhishekam. These offerings are then distributed among pilgrims. Appam or a sweet preparation and Aravana, which is a preparation from jaggery are also offered to the lord, which can be later on bought by devotees. Camphors are common ingredients which are lighted in this temple mostly.

Photo Gallery


Related Image


Related Topics


The mosques in Kerala speak about the heritage of the Arabians. Supporters of Prophet Muhammad and the traders of....


There are numerous temples located in Kerala which are devoted to different Gods and Goddesses of Hindu Mythology. Vadukkumnathan....


Primarily considered as a temple for...


The town of Guruvayoor is an imp...