November 4, 2014

Sabarimalai Lord Ayyappa Temple

!!! Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa !!!

This is one of the very famous temple in South India where close to 5 crore people visit every year. The main purpose of this blog is to share various routes, accommodation  and other useful information to other pilgrims. During the months of December and January it will be heavily crowded due to the Makara Vilaku (is on 14th January 2015).

This is one temple where everyone is allowed inside the temple irrespective of religion. Only with "Erumudi" you can go via sacred 18 steps, without Erumudi you can have darshan through the side ways.   

Places with photos covered here are
  • Erumeli Vavaru Masjit
  • Erumeli Shasta Temple
  • Pamba River
  • Sabarimalai Ayyappa Temple and sacred 18 steps
Yearly Darshan Calendar and Temple timings

Please follow this link to know the Opening and Closing Days of this temple. Note: This temple is not open all the days.

There are different routes to reach the temple by walk and see this link for details Trek Routes.The temple is not open always as it is in middle of thick forest in Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District in Kerala.  Only barefoot walk. You need to follow the customs if you want to go via "sacred 18 steps". One need to follow Viradaham for about 48 days. Following this customs will definitely help you a lot in many ways. 

During Dec-Jan, many devotees walk via "Periya Pathai" (Big route) which is close to 45Kms. This is done with barefoot as per customs and a very tough one unless you are prepared well during Viradaham. There will be a huge crowd on the way and you will never feel alone in the forest route.  

Viradham or Customs to be followed

Once you start your "Viradham" (customs), please do a barefoot walk everyday and prepare your legs and feet. Take bath twice a day i.e. morning and evening, so that your body will get used to the weather and you wont catch cold or fever. By following these customs you will be more immune and prepare your body. I have reduced my weight a lot and this helped me to start walking on a daily basis. 

For differently abled persons, they have the "Tholi" where set of four people will carry this differently abled person on their shoulders uphill. (this is very challenging). Refer the photos below.

Benefits of this Viradham

  • Mind control
  • Avoiding outside food helps you control/manage your diet well
  • Taking bath twice helps building your immune better and keep you clean
  • No tension by worshiping Ayyappa, performing pooja twice a day and chanting his name.
  • Good exercise by practicing bare-foot walk daily during Viradham days
  • Being a very simple person by wearing mala and simple black dhothi
  • Many more....... 


This is a very challenging one for all the visitors. I have added the details to help.
  • For advance online booking, refer this link Once you book online, carry the confirmation slip and produce in the booking office to get the keys to rooms. Remember the rooms may not be so clean, but you can take the broomsticks and clean it yourself. Take the floor mat for sleeping inside the rooms. (normal rooms, you get bed in other types of rooms)
  • For on the spot booking, visit the booking office near the temple complex. Refer the photos below for details. 
  • If you don't get a place to stay but want to stay overnight, then you can just rent a floor mat and sleep on the mantap. (remember it may be bit cold in nights). This is the main reason you need to follow the customs for 41 days and be prepared.
  • Make sure to reach the temple early in the morning and do darshan and leave immediately so that you don't need to stay. 

This is one more very challenging thing for all visitors. The temple and surroundings are not so clean due to huge crowd and garbage. Rain make it worst sometimes. Though there are many restaurants around the temple, I personally felt the cleanliness of the restaurants and food can be improved a lot.

I suggest you to try the "Annadanam" (free food) supplied by different group of people who visit the temple time to time. Many of the temple who visit this temple, have the habit of serving the other pilgrims with food which is really a very good one. Mostly try to take this free food which is prepared well and served immediately. (No need to worry about any stale food from restaurants).

Kind Request to all pilgrims !!!

Please be very cautious and throw the waste in dust bins ONLY. Plastic bags and other items should be thrown only on the dust bins. SEARCH for the bin and put it inside, this way you are helping the temple to keep clean and you are helping other pilgrims as well.

PLEASE dont throw your used Malas, clothes and soap etc into the Pamba river. It is sacred and many depend on this water. Let us keep it clean, use dust bins to throw your waste. 


How to reach Sabarimala?

There is no direct access to Pamba by Train, hence one need to reach the nearest railway stations and then head towards Pamba by a Taxi or a local bus transport. 

  • Kottayam - 97 Kms to Pamba
  • Thiruvalla - 89 Kms to Pamba
  • Chenganur - 89 Kms to Pamba
  • Ernakulam - 150 Kms to Pamba
  • Alappuzha - 123 Kms to Pamba
Refer these sites which has every detail you need to know. 

Moving onto Photos

Erumeli Vavaru Masjid

Erumeli Vavar Masjid

First time pilgrims perform a custom by applying these colors on their face and body

Erumeli Sastha Temple

Pamba River


Dholi for differently abled persons or Aged people

Free Food - Annadhanam at Pamba

It is hot and Sambar is getting mixed with Rice, served to all pilgrims freely

Sacred 18 steps and Padi Pooja

Pooja timings and Temple Timings

Other photos

Sacred Bhasmakulam (Pond)

Vavar Swamy

Long Queue for Darshan (but this is not even 1% of what you will see during December, January)

View of the forest from Sabarimalai

Hope you liked this post, share with friends and add your comments below !!!


  1. Let me know your comments, suggestions on this post. Thank you !!!

    1. Nice one . Good Compilation . BTW when did you visit , crowd is very less.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I visited during July, yes it was less crowded. (As the school reopened)

  3. Thanks a lot. Good Information.


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  5. Good it is helpful for beginners.


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