11 Unknown secrets of Sabarimala Ayappa temple
India is a classic example of a simple solution emerging out of complexity. No other region on the entire globe claims to have such diversity other than India. Even then, we stand united serving the great cause of our nation. Numerous clans co-exist peacefully in the Indian sub-continent, their origination points arising from their deities. In the older Indian tradition, temples were given huge importance as they served the stopping point of the human flux, immersing them into the devotion of their deity. These temples have magnificent design and temples of this nature can be found all over the country. One such temple is the Sabarimala, dedicated to Lord Ayappa, located in Kerala. In this article we try to answer the mystery pertaining to a few topics that have been associated with this temple.
If translated MakaraJyothi literally means a star that is worshipped by Hindus who are devout to the Sabarimala temple. It is believed that Lord Ayyappa himself blesses his devotees in the form of this star. This is also one of the rare days when the temple complex is open for devotees other than the dates that fall between November fifteen to December twenty six and April fourteen. The temple is also open for all for the first five days of the Malayalam calendar.
2. No women entry (10 and 50 age)
As astonishing as this sounds, in the year nineteen ninety one, the Kerala high court banned the entry for all women who were above the age of ten and below the age of fifty. This was possibly done keeping in mind the Puritanism that the temple is said to require. The decision has not gone down well with women and they in turn have challenged the decision in the Supreme Court of India. No decisions have been made yet.
3. Sabarimala aravana payasam
The same represents a local delicacy that is served as prasadam to the devotees. Prasadam is essentially a set of food items that are first presented to God so that he can have his meal. Once this ritual is finished, the exact same food, prepared in bulk is distributed via food courts to the people who visit the temple.
Vritham or Mandala Vritham means fasting via a stipulated set of rules. This is an ardent task for any devotee as he or she needs to fast for forty one days (usually from November fifteen to December twenty four). Post this period the devotee then takes a trek to see and bask in the glory of his beloved Lord Ayyappan.
5. Association with Vavar (Mosque)
Vavar is a Muslim Sufi sent. The story goes by stating that after the temple was constructed, it was inaccessible for around three centuries post that. In the twelfth century, a young prince known as Manikandan managed to find the original path to reach the temple. This prince is known as an incarnation of Lord Ayyappan himself and found the path along with many followers including the descendants of the Vavar family. He along with a pack of Leopards and Saint Vavar, managed to reach the temple appropriately.
6. Largest annual pilgrimage in the world
You heard it right! A religious pilgrimage to Sabarimala is one of the largest religious pilgrimages of its kind, seeing crowds up to one hundred million each year, year after year.
7. The legend of Mahishi
Mahishi was the sister of powerful Demon God Mahisasura. Upon his death she was blessed with Lord Brahma with strength and a long life. She was eventually killed by Lord Ayyappa and upon her death, the Lord meditated in the hills to clear his conscience as Mahishi had originally asked the Lord to be his consort.
8. Where Gods reside
It is truly a divine feeling when one is nearing the Ayyappa shrine. One does get the feeling that; if God actually existed he would have indeed lived in a place like this. The temple is situated amidst eighteen hills of the gallant Western Ghats. The temple itself is located one thousand five hundred and thirty five feet above the sea level and is surrounded by mountains and very dense forests. The forest is known as Periyar Tiger reserve and there is a temple located in each of the adjacent hills, other than the main temple.
9. Modus operandi of the pilgrims:
Pilgrims are expected to not have non-vegetarian food except dairy products, to bathe twice, to not shave, to not use foul language, to not consume alcohol or tobacco and to not fornicate. They are also expected to wear plain blue or black clothes, although some pilgrims wear saffron clothes as per the Vedic method that unites all Hindus worldwide.
Harivarasanam is a song in devotion for Lord Ayyappan. There are many versions of this song available. However, the Sabarimala administration prefers the version of K.J Yesudas composed by the world renowned musician G. Devarajan. This song is sung every night before the door closes of the main shrine for the Lord Ayyappan. The song is sung in its Hindi-Sanskrit version.
Neyyabhishekam is an important offering, offered by the devotee to Lord Ayyappan. A devotee has to pay a certain amount at the temple registrar to get his goods and hand it over to the priest. The priest, after offering it to the Lord, returns it back to the devotee for consumption. The clarified butter (Ghee) which is given back is known to have medicinal properties.
The facts mentioned atop are some of the fascinating jewels that are related to the Ayyappa temple. Just comes to show the power of faith that has transformed this historical house of God into a human inflow searching for peace and power in such a large number. No amount of words can actually describe the feeling that grips one as one sees the devoted followers of Lord Ayyappa inching closer to see him and chanting his name. It is definitely worthy of a visit and makes one closer to nature and more so to God.