Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple
Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple Dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is situated on a hilltop (about 3000 feet above sea level) named Sabarimala . inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Perinad Village, in Pathanamthitta district, Surrounded by mountains and dense forest Sabarimala is believed to be the place where Ayyappan meditated. Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple is one of the most ancient and prominent Sastha temples in the country.
Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple is one of the few Hindu temples in India that is open to all faiths. There is a place near the temple; east to Sannidhanam, dedicated to the Vavar (a sufi and friend of Lord Ayyappa) which is called 'Vavarunada', an epitome of religious harmony. Another interesting fact is that it is not open throughout the year.
It is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja, Makaravilakku and Chitra Vishu. . It is believed that "Parasurama Maharshi" who retrieved Kerala from the sea by throwing his axe, installed the idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala to worship Lord Ayyappa.
It is said that the pilgrims have to follow fasting for 41 days to cleanse their minds before going to Sabarimala. Saabarimala Temple is open to males of all age groups and to women who have either passed their fertility age and those before reaching the stage of puberty.
The easiest route is via Chalakkayam, by which one can reach the banks of the river Pamba by vehicle. Pamba is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. From here one has to trek 4 to 5 kms to reach the temple. The journey to the temple is to be taken through difficult paths in the forest as the vehicles can go only up to Pampa.
The Sabarimala Temple is a temple complex located at Sabarimala inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Perinad Village, Pathanamthitta district, Kerala, India. It is one of the largest annual pilgrimage sites in the world with an estimate of over 40 to 50 million devotees visiting every year.