SABARIMALA AYYAPPA TEMPLE | PLACES TO VISIT & TRAVEL GUIDE TO SABARIMALA
Ideal Trip Duration: Full Day
Nearest City to Sabarimala: Kochi (158 Kms), Trivandrum (178 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Sabarimala: November to January
Peak Season: November to January
At a distance of 70 km from Pathanamthitta, 158 km from Kochi, and 178 km from Trivandrum, Sabarimala is a revered Hindu shrine located in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. It is one of the famous places pilgrimage in India, and among the must-include places in Kerala tour packages.
Dedicated Lord Ayyappan, Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is one of the oldest temples in India, with a history of more than 5000 years old. It is one of the most visited pilgrim centers in the world with an estimated 45 - 50 million devotees every year. The temple is situated amid 18 hills, at an altitude of about 3000 feet. It is believed that Lord Parasurama installed the idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala.
The pilgrimage season begins in November and ends in January (the temple remains closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of each Malayalam month). The devotees following Ayyappa Vratam (Ayyappa Maala - a 41 days Vratam with strict restrictions) carry Irumudi Kettu containing traditional offerings to the Lord. Mandalapooja (Nov17th) and Makaravilakku (Jan 14th) are the important events of the temple. Makara Jyothi (a celestial star) appeared on Jan 14th is the most crowded occasion of this temple that one must not miss as part of Sabarimala tour packages.
Sabarimala temple has no restrictions on caste and religion. The temple is open to males of all age groups, but women between 10-50 years of age group are NOT allowed into the temple. Pamba, Erumeli, Pandalam, and Malikappurathu Amma Temple are the other prominent places to visit in Sabarimala. Sabarimala can be reached by an 8 km trek from Pamba, which is the nearest road point to the temple.
Booking of Sabarimala Virtual Q Coupon opened on 11th January 2017. Sabarimala Virtual Q helps devotees to reach Sannidhanam without waiting in the long queue usually formed at Pampa. Pilgrims can book a slot in the queue for darshan using the Virtual Q website, sabarimalaq.com, which was developed by Kerala Police to facilitate the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
Sabarimala Temple Opening dates for 2016:
Makaravilakku Day - 15/01/2016
Feb 2016 - 13/02/2016 to 18/02/2016
Mar 2016 - 13/03/2016 to 18/03/2016 (Pooja), 13/03/2016 to 23/03/2016 (Utsavam)
Apr 2016 - 10/04/2016 to 18/04/2016
May 2016 - 14/05/2016 to 19/05/2016
Jun 2016 - 13/06/2016 to 19/06/2016
Jul 2016 - 15/07/2016 to 20/07/2016
Aug 2016 - 16/08/2016 to 21/08/2016
Sep 2016 - 13/09/2016 to 16/09/2016 (Onam), 16/09/2016 to 21/09/2016 (Monthly Pooja)
Oct 2016 - 16/10/2016 to 21/10/2016 (Monthly Pooja), 29/10/2016 to 30/10/2016 (Sree Chithra Atta Thirunal)
Nov 2016 & Dec 2016 - 15/11/2016 to 26/12/2016 (Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam)
Makara Vilakku Mahotsavam - 30/12/2016 20/01/2017
Nov to Jan : 4 AM to 1:30 PM & 4 PM to 11 PM
Other months: 5 PM to 10 PM
Makara Sankranthi (Jan 14)