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Old 19th March 2022, 10:55   #1
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Default Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March

Sabarimala Pilgrimage during March-2022




Swami Saranam

It was truly a pilgrimage / journey beyond words, with outstanding planning and execution, including attention to all aspects and even comforts in isolated regions and remote areas. Despite the hectic official obligation, collating the information and compiling the data of all pilgrims (who were part of this trip); it was indeed a great marathon effort by Guruswamy and the support team. As each day went by, more information was provided, and confirmations were obtained at each stage/location of the visit, our excitement grew. We were looking forward to the visit with great excitement. Thanks for all the help by one and all and to everyone who contributed to the success of this trip.


Prelude of the trip
Venkat (my wife’s cousin) said a month ago that he was planning a pilgrimage to Sabarimala in March (Panguni masam in Tamil or also known as Phalguna). We were always inquisitive and had been wanting to visit Sabarimala for a long time. The cousin’s family and their group are ardent devotees of Swami Ayyappa, visiting Sabarimala each year for more than three decades. Each year we would like to be part of this group to travel but owing to our work schedule, we were unable to do so. The pilgrimage to Sabarimala is a trip that we eagerly look forward to and is a much sort after. We decided that we would wait for a few years for my wife to be able to join us on this trip.

Despite having already visited Sabaraimalai in November-2021, the group chose to perform a pilgrimage with family members (both men and women) during Panguni masam. We thought to ourselves, “What a blessing it is for us to be part of this group”. We verified our plans while keeping in mind our work schedule. Then we began to consider the pre-requisites or rituals that must be followed to undertake this pilgrimage. (Refer to the section below to read more about the rituals; Source: Kerala Government website).

We called Kannu a few times to clarify our doubts, Do’s and Don’ts as we are the 1st time travellers to Sabarimala. He always answered our queries quite patiently. A WhatsApp group was formed on 14-Feb-2022 to share & seek information with fellow travellers, our plan and details for train booking, online darshan bookings etc. Initially, at this stage, a high-level plan was provided to all of us as they were finalizing our trip to Sabarimala.

12-March-2022 Bengaluru to Thrissur, Kanyakumari express, boarding at KR Puram (departure at 8:30 pm). The vehicle will be arranged to pick from Thrissur. Post visiting a few temples at Thrissur, we proceed to Pamba via Guruvayur, Chothanikara, Udayanapuram, Ethumanur. Post Sabarimala darshan, we proceed to Palani depending on the time.
15th March return from Tirupur (1:30 pm) to Bengaluru (7:00 pm) by Intercity Express

Personally, it was a journey where I did not have to drive at all. We are accustomed to taking long road trips across the country with our vehicles. The thought of not going on a self-drive trip and instead relying on train transport was first worrisome. Our travel has been halted for the previous two years owing to the pandemic.

The best part of this trip was that Kannu and his support group, who have been travelling to Sabarimala together for over three decades, organised everything. They are well-versed in the locations, routes, rituals to be observed, temple opening and closing times, as well as the amenities available for women at various locations. We were so fortunate that all such arrangements were pre-planned and booked and all we had to do was to be part of such a dedicated group. Thinking back, what a blessing it was to be part of such a committed group!

Once the confirmation was sort from the group members travelling during Mar, they collected our details and booked our train tickets from Bengaluru to Thrissur by 3AC in Kanyakumari Express and return journey from Tirupur to Bengaluru by AC chair car.

We all began praying to the Almighty for strength to complete this long-awaited yatra.


Few teasers from our trip to Sabarimala
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 19th March 2022, 10:59   #2
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What prompted us to undertake this travel?
Our many years of pilgrimage travel which is in abundance in our country, our experience during these travels has given us rich culture, tradition, history, discipline, thus resulting in a feeling of being cleansed. The minimum conveniences in remote pilgrimage sites, trek to temples, austerity, discipline in food habits has always had a long lasting impact on our holistic wellbeing. Inspite of hectic schedules, it amazes us how our energy levels has sustained from early mornings to late nights, definitely the source of energy has come from the sanctum darshan, holy charanamruth and Prasad.

There are many famous pilgrimage sites commonly visited by most. However there are so many lesser known temples in remote locations, less frequented. In our quest on these lines we have travelled along the length and breadth of India from J&K (Amarnath, Vaisho Devi) to Kanyakumari and Gujarat (Dwarka) to West Bengal (Ganga sagar). Listening to various discourses brought light on the Divya Desams: Vaishnava tradition and Paadal Petra Sthalams: 275 Shiva Sthalams. This aroused in us a devotion to visit the temples.

Some of the pilgrimages we have undertaken are given below:
• Char Dham of India (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram)
• Ashtavinayak - The eight Ganesha temples in Maharashtra are Mayureshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar, Varadavinayak, Chintamani, Girijatmaj, Vighneshwar, Mahaganapati
• Aaru padai veedu (6 abodes of Murugan - Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram and Thiruchendur)
• Dwadasa Jyotirlingas (Baidyanath, Bhimashankar, Grushneshwar, Kashi Vishwanath, Kedarnath, Mahakaleshwar, Mallikarjun, Nagnath, Omkareshwar, Rameswaram, Somnath, Triambakeshwar)
• Navagraha Sthalams in Tamil Nadu (Sooriyanar Kovil, Thingaloor, Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Thiruvenkadu, Alangudi, Kanjanur, Thirunallar, Thirunageswaram, Keezhperumpallam)
• Panchabhuta Sthalams - Srikalahasti, Thillai Nataraja Temple Chidambaram, Annamalaiyar Temple Tiruvannamalai, Ekambareswarar Temple Kanchi, Jambukeswarar Temple Thiruvanaikaval
• Nava Narasimhan - Ahobila Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha, Bhargava Narasimha, Chatravata Narasimha, Varaha Narasimha, Malola Narasimha, Paavana Narasimha, Karanja Narasimha
• Gomukh to Ganga sagar. The Bhagirathi rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh and the tributary eventually meets the ocean at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. Ganga begins at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devprayag in Uttarakhand.
• Char Dham of Uttarkhand (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath)
• Panch Prayag (Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Devprayag)
• Uttara Kannada District or North Canara temples or temples in Coastal Karnataka district
108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...avelogue.html? (108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue)
275 Shiva Sthalams: Paadal Petra Sthalam – As of now we have covered 130 out of 275 Shiva Sthalams


Some of our travelogue in team-bhp

Our Grandeur of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...telangana.html (The Grandeur of Andhra & Telangana)

Rann-dezvous at Kutch
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ous-kutch.html (Rann-dezvous at Kutch)

Spiti Splendour - Delhi to Spiti in an XUV500
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...ti-xuv500.html (Spiti Splendour - Delhi to Spiti in an XUV500)

Travelogue to the Golden City, Jaisalmer
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/trave...jaisalmer.html (To the Golden City, Jaisalmer)
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:04   #3
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Default re: Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March

Summary of the Trip

Bengaluru to Thrissur – By Train (overnight journey – 09:30 hrs)
Thrissur to Sabarimala to Tirupur – By Road (650 Kms)
Trek to Sabarimala – By barefoot (at night approx. 03:00 hrs one way, additional time at Pamba)
Tirupur to Bengaluru – By Train (06:30 hours)

No. of days (travel): 04

Pre-preparation: follow the rituals (the days would vary if a person wears mala and takes irumudi)

Rituals: Many families have been following rituals traditionally. There could be variations due to work obligations and the family traditions. For details, refer to the section “Rituals and the travel as per the website of the Kerala Government”. More details are provided throughout the travelogue.
Note: Only people carrying irumudi are allowed to climb the 18 padi or steps at Sabarimala

Distance travelled by road: 650 Km (Thrissur to Tirupur via Guruvayur, Sabarimala & Palani)

Sabarimala Temple: the shrine of Lord Ayyappa is located atop a hill, 3000 metres above the sea level, at Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.

When is the best time to visit?
Each year, a large number of pilgrims go during the mandalam season, which runs from November through December. It is preferable to plan your journey around the Sabarimala temple opening days if you travel during other months.


List of documents & items carried during the trip
1. Aadhar Card / ID proof
2. COVID vaccination certificate
3. Online booking forms
4. Essential medicines (as advised by the doctor), Electral (ORS), Oxalgin
5. Clothes for 3 days (change over at Thrissur, Erumeli & Palani)
6. For Train, Bedsheet (as we were travelling by 3AC), air pillow
7. Irumudi
8. Mobile & charger (can’t live without it in this digital world!)
9. Shoulder bag just to carry essential things like water bottle, medicine, toiletry, towel etc. while claiming the Sabarimala hill
10. Carry less luggage (more comfort for both our tummy and inside the Van)
11. Adequate cash (though all pre-planned, for availing doli, offerings at the temple)



Bengaluru to Thrissur – By Train (overnight journey – 09:30 hrs)
Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-blrthrissur-train-20220312.png


Thrissur to Sabarimala to Tirupur – By Road (650 Kms)
Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-trip-route.png


Tirupur to Bengaluru – By Train (06:30 hours)
Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-tirupur-blr-train-intercity.png
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:06   #4
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15-Feb-2022
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Pallikkattu Sabarimalaikku - Revival K. Veeramani


Other related information was also shared in the group
By Rajkumar: With the blessings guruswamy and elders, well-wishers my son visited Sabarimala for the 8th time successfully, had a good darshan on 13th February. Good crowd and all well at Sabarimala, inspite of all recent COVID restrictions.

On this day, there were 14 confirmations for the trip and train booking was initiated. Eventually, the total went up to 16 in the next couple of days (with the confirmations from Balu chitappa and Suryanaranayan Athimber). In addition, a few people will participate in the yatra on the following journey because additional people could not be accommodated on this trip.

We shared our details for Virtual Queue booking for Sabarimala (all links and details can be found at the end of this travelogue).


16-Feb-2022
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
போனால் சபரிமலை | Bhakthi Malar Vol-2 sung by Sreehari Bhajana Sangam | Ponal Sabarimalai


We all welcomed Shankar to our WhatsApp group, as he has been the backbone of the group and has been extremely helpful in all aspects of our pilgrimage including train tickets, online virtual que ticketing and all of the pooja activities.

The next useful video Do's & Don'ts while wearing Sabarimalai Maalai | மாலை போடுபவர்கள் செய்ய வேண்டியதும் செய்யக்கூடாததும்

This video provides information, Do’s and Don’ts about things to follow for those who wear mala on the pilgrimage to Sabarimala and a brief history about Lord Ayyappa. This should help most of the Kanni Swamy's for undertaking Vritham.


17-Feb-2022 (Thursday)
Because 10 of the group members were visiting Sabarimalai for the first time, our guruswamy suggested that we meet everyone in person. The planned visit to the Jalahalli Aiyappan temple was set for February 27th. The next step was to do Ayyappa pooja on March 5th, followed by Bhajan.
In addition, our guruswamy suggested we should have our Malai before the pooja to prepare ourselves for the divine journey.

On this day, Rema sent the following message, which was full of emotions/feelings and enthusiasm.
“We have looked at all of you Ayyappas with an awe during the puja, the temple visit and the kattu nerai. It is so unbelievable that we are going to be a part of this divine event. I am melting thinking of Ayyappas blessings towards us. May he continue to bless us with a safe and holy journey.”


18-Feb-2022 (Friday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Haarangal Choodeeduvom. Tamil Swamy Ayyappan Devotional song T.S.Radhakrishnaji Live


As part of the group, all ladies were encouraged to walk at least 5 kilometres every day (in barefoot) because they are all elderly people who require a great deal of energy.
To prepare for the travel, our guru swamy advised that we go to a local temple every day.


19-Feb-2022 (Saturday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Entha malai | Shenkottai Hariharasubramanian Bhagavathar | Ayikudy Kumar Bhagavathar | Swamy Ayyapan



The signature song "Rangamma" of Shri Vittaldas Maharaj. Nov 13 2011 Coimbatore
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:09   #5
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20-Feb-2022 (Sunday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
சாமி பொன்அய்யப்ப Bhakthi Malar Vol-4 sung by Sreehari Bhajana Sangam | Swami Ponayyappa



21-Feb-2022 (Monday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
பாட்டுப்பாடி | Bhakthi Malar Vol-4 | sung by Sreehari Bhajana Sangam | Pattupadi



22-Feb-2022 (Tuesday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Azhagu Azhagu Ayappan Azhagu | Manjapra Sri Mohan | Alangudi Radhakalyanam 2013


IRUMUDI THANGI | Pallikkettu | Ayyappa Devotional Song Tamil | Video Song


We got confirmation that
a) our railway tickets and return train tickets were booked,
b) A 17-seater Tempo traveller would be available from Thrissur on the 13th till we arrived in Tiruppur.
c) Rooms have been blocked at Thrissur for the 13th morning to take bath.
d) Valampuri Vinayagar temple hall blocked for pooja and bhajan on the 5th of March.
e) Ramakrishna Bhajana Sabha has been confirmed for the Bhajan.
f) The same hall will be used for our Irrumudi poojai on the 12th.
g) And finally the estimated cost for the trip including pooja
h) The plan is to visit Jalahalli Aiyappan temple on the 27th early morning as per our group practice
i) Post temple visit we can have breakfast and discuss the entire program schedule and clarify all the doubts.
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:10   #6
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23-Feb-2022 (Wednesday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
ഭക്തിമലർ Vol-1 | Ayyappa Devotional Songs | Sreehari Bhajana Sangam | Bhakthi Malar Vol-1




24-Feb-2022 (Thursday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Senthoora Vadivalagai செந்தூர வடிவழகை



25-Feb-2022 (Friday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Manjapra Mohan Bhajan – on 2011 Annual Ayyappa Bhajan and Sasthapreeti celebrations at SFS Pocket D, Mayur Vihar Phase 3, Delhi



26-Feb-2022 (Saturday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Enn Thanthaikkoru Malayundu Ayyappa Tamil DevotionalT.S.Radhakrishnaji Live



27-Feb-2022 (Sunday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Enge Manakkuthu Ayyappan Song With Lyrics | Veeramani Raju | Ayyappa Songs In Tamil
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:16   #7
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27-Feb-2022 (Sunday)


Visit Ayyappan temple at Jalahalli

A visit to the local temple, Swamy Ayyappan at Jalahalli Bengaluru was organised on 27-February at 8:00 am. The purpose of visiting the local temple was 2 fold
(1) To have the Lord Ayyappan Darshan and blessings
(2) To meet and discuss the plan with all fellow travellers.

Some of us met near Surabharathi HRBR layout at 7.30 am and then proceeded further to the Jalahalli temple. Being a Sunday, the traffic was less in the morning hours and we reached the temple at 8:00 am. We had a lovely darshan of Lord Ayyappan. We were also blessed to witness the morning “Seeveli”, where the Melshanthi carries the Lord in all majesty for a procession around the temple.

Following the darshan, we also purchased some small bags from the temple store. Subsequently, we then proceeded for breakfast at Kandamba Gardenia, where we had Kesari, dosa, idli, Pongal and coffee. Over the breakfast table, we were given instructions and certain travel advisories by our Guruswamy Venkat. We also got a chance to get clarity on our doubts as many of us were travelling for the very first time to Sabarimala. Everyone was asked to travel light, with minimum luggage. It was difficult just thinking about it, yet it strangely relieved the stress of packing.

The simplicity of a pilgrim was instilled in us. We all introduced each other to the rest of the group, and the tight vibes and affection everyone had for us made it feel like one large family. We were all excited to depart that day, but we still had a fortnight ahead of us.


<Photos of our group taken at Kandamba Gardenia>
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:39   #8
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28-Feb-2022 (Monday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Padi Padi Padiyaka by Manjapra Mohan



1-March-2022 (Tuesday)
Shivaratri.
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
இருமுடிக்கட்டு | Ayyappa Devotional | Bhakthi Malar Vol-1 | Sreehari Bhajana Sangam | Irumudikattu
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Old 19th March 2022, 11:43   #9
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Here are the details about "Rituals and the travel as per the website of the Kerala Government"
https://sabarimala.kerala.gov.in/rituals


Malayidal:
A pilgrimage to Sabarimala is all about the test of senses. Pilgrims are expected to lead a simple pious life known as ‘Vrutham’ for the successful completion of the pilgrimage.

Ideally, ‘Vrutham’ starts from the day when the pilgrim adorns a chain (Mala in Malayalam) denoting willingness to undertake austerity. This ritual is known as ‘Malayideel’ in local parlance.

The devotee may wear a bead chain with the locket of Sree Ayyappan. Once the chain is worn, the devotee has to lead a life free of worldly pleasures.
Vices such as smoking and alcohol use are also a strict no-no. The pilgrim is also required to lead a life of conjugal abstinence.

Religious practices mandate that the Mala should be accepted after prayers from a temple priest or a Guruswami – a person who has completed 18 Sabarimala pilgrimages.
Alternatively, the Mala may be also worn in the prayer room/place of one’s own home.
The Mala may be taken off after the completion of the pilgrimage.


Mandala Vrutham:
Mandala Vrutham denotes austerity measures by followers and devotees of Lord Ayyappa for a Mandala or 41 days. Simple and pious living sans any vices is called for during the ‘Vrutham’ period. Wearing the Mala denotes the onset of the ‘Vrutham’.

Devotees consider wearing the Mala on a Saturday or on the day of Uthram, the astral sign considered auspicious. Uthram is the birth star of Sree Ayyappan.
The idea behind the 41-day ‘Vrutham’ is to develop discipline and healthy practices and make it a habit. It is all about good habit formation through sustained efforts achieved through a combination of self-control and prayers.
Black is the recommended colour for clothes during the ‘Vruthum’ period as the colour denotes detachment from material things. Cutting hair, shaving off facial hair, and cutting nails are forbidden.


Kettunirakkal:
This ritual is the preparation and packing of ‘Irumudi kettu’ for Sabarimala pilgrimage. It is prepared under the guidance of a guru swamy Only those who carry the Irumudi kettu on the head would be allowed to climb the 18 sacred steps to the temple, as they are the ones considered to have observed the austerities and thus eligible to climb the holy steps. Other devotees have to resort to a different passage to reach in front of the sanctum sanctorum for worship. During the Kettunira, after the initial prayers, the sacred offering of ghee (clarified cow’s butter) is filled inside a coconut, the fibrous covering of which is removed.

The draining of the water within the coconut through a small hole on the top and filling it with ghee is a symbolic act. It signifies the draining out of worldly attachments from the mind and filling it with spiritual aspirations. Coconut is called ‘thenga’ in Malayalam and now the ghee-filled coconut, an offering for Lord Ayyappa, is known as the neyy-thenga. First, the front compartment of the bag will be filled in with the neyy-thenga and other sacred offerings to Lord Ayyappa and the accompanying deities. The front compartment is now closed by tying it with a string. The filled-in front compartment is believed to be vibrant with spiritual power. Then the other compartment is filled with a few coconuts to be broken at various holy spots.


Petta Thullal:
Petta Thullal, the ritualistic sacred dance to celebrate the victory of good over evil in the legend of Lord Ayyappa who killed the demon princess Mahishi, which denotes the beginning of the last leg of the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season. Traditionally, Petta Thullal is performed first by the Ambalappuzha team. The team comprising more than 1,000 devotees starts the ritualistic dance after sighting the kite in the skies around noon from the Kochambalam at Petta junction. The team will dance its way into the Nainar mosque across the road to pay obeisance to Lord Ayyappa’s trusted lieutenant, Vavar.

They will be formally received by the Erumeli Mahallu Jamaat committee leaders who later would accompany them to the Sree Dharma Sastha Temple (Valiambalam) nearly a kilometre away where the Ambalappuzha team and the Jamaat leaders would be received by the Travancore Devaswom Board officials. The ceremonial dance by the Alangad team begins in the afternoon after sighting the star in the daylight sky. The two teams after an overnight stay at the Valiambalam would trek to Pampa to participate in the Pampa Sadya and later in the Makaravilaku festival at the Sannidhanam.


Traditional Path:
There are several routes to reach Sabarimala including Erumeli route, Vandiperiyar route and the Chalakayam route.

The route via Erumeli is considered the traditional path as it is held that Ayyappan took this route to subdue Mahishi. It is also the toughest of the lot, requiring a trek of about 61 km through forest and hill tracks.

Devotees taking the Erumeli route pass through a series of spots before they reach Sabarimala. The journey starts with offering prayers at the shrines of Dharma Sastha and Vavar Swami at Erumeli. About 4 km from Erumeli is Perur Thodu, a place where Ayyappa is believed to have rested during his expedition. This place is also important as it marks the start of the ascent/climb to Sabarimala. As a practice, pilgrims give alms seeking asylum in Ayyappa. The forest beyond Perur Thodu is known as 'Poongavanam' meaning 'Ayyappa's garden.

The next spot in the traditional path is Kaalaketti, about 10 km from Perur Thodu. 'Kaala' in Malayalam means ox and ‘ketti’ is tying. It is believed that Lord Shiva tied his ox here and witnessed Ayyappa slaying the Mahishi. Pilgrims offer prayers in the shrine here, lighting camphor and breaking coconuts.

About 2 km from Kaalaketti is Azhutha river, a tributary of the river Pampa. Pilgrims make it a point to collect pebbles from the Azhutha river before proceeding onto the steep Azhutha hill. The 2-km steep hilly terrain is considered very tough. , making in one weep and cry. Kallidumkunnu rests at the summit of Azhutha. At this step pilgrims throw the pebbles down, commemorating the act of flinging down Mahishi's mortal remains.


Route 2
Inchipparakota marks the descent of the journey after successfully navigating the uphill terrain. At Inchipparakota, there is a shrine dedicated to Sastha known as Kotayil Sastha, where pilgrims offer their respects. The descent across the slippery path ends at Karimala thodu (canal) flanked by the Azhutha hill on one side and the Karimala hill on the other.

Karimala is the grooming ground of elephants and the pachyderms visit the Karimala canal to drink water. To protect themselves from the chilly weather and animal invasion, pilgrims set up campfires. Karimala is a hill with seven levels and the journey is undertaken in stages. The 5 km ascent is very difficult and devotees course this leg of the journey chanting ‘Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa’. The flat terrain on top of the Karimala hill offers scope for rest. The 'Nazhikkinar', well within a well in this place has fresh spring water, quenching thirsts and tiredness after the steep climb. At this spot, prayers are offered to various deities including 'Karimalanthan', 'Kochu Kadutha Swami' and Bhagawathi.


Route 3
After an exhausting descent of 5 km covering spots such as Valiyaanavattam and Cheriyaanavattam, one reaches the Pampa river. The significance of Pampa in the Sabarimala pilgrimage also draws from the belief that King Rajasekhara of Pandalam found infant Ayyappa here. Considered as holy as the Ganges, worshippers believe that the water purifies one from curses and evil. The Sannidhanam (the spot of the sanctum sanctorum) is around 8 km from the Pampa river valley. Neelimala, Appachimedu, Sabareepeedom and Saramkuthi are some of the spots en route.

It is interesting to note that the ascent and descents of the journey teach one to recognise that life is all about ups and downs, and one has to brave it all to reach the summit!


Ulsavam:
‘Ulsavam’ is the annual festival held at Sabarimala temple during the Malayalam month of ‘Meenam’ or the Tamil month of ‘Panguni’ (March-April). The temple remains open for a period of 10 days during the ‘Ulsavam’.

‘Ulsavam’ begins with the hoisting of the temple flag, ‘Kodiyettam’. Over the course of the next days, several special poojas including ‘Ulsavabali’ and ‘Sree Bhootha Bali’ are conducted. The 9th day of the annual festival marks ‘Pallivetta’, wherein Sree Ayyappa goes on a ceremonial procession to perform the royal hunt at Saramkuthi. This is followed by the Sabarimala ‘Arattu’ or holy dip at the Pampa river.

Special poojas to mark ‘Panguni Uthram’ draws the annual ‘Ulsavam’ to a close. ‘Uthram’ is the birth star of Sree Ayyappan.


Source:
website of Kerala Government https://sabarimala.kerala.gov.in/rituals
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Old 19th March 2022, 21:00   #10
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1-March-2022 (Tuesday)
Shivaratri.
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy

All of us were given a rough itinerary for a trip to Sabarimala. This contains a day-by-day itinerary, places to visit, and estimated travel time. As each day went by, more information was provided, and confirmations were obtained at each stage/location of the visit, our excitement grew. We were looking forward to the visit with great excitement.


photo of itinerary/travel plan

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-trip-plan.jpeg


google map route of the trip

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-blrthrissur-train-20220312.png

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-trip-route.png


Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-tirupur-blr-train-intercity.png



2-March-2022 (Wednesday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Pachai Pattadai பச்சை பட்டாடை - Ayyappan songs by Mettupalayam Vasudevan



We were advised to wear the mala (a ritual to be followed for Sabarimala) at a temple by taking Sankalpa of our ongoing Vratam. Each of the devotees had their Malai on at their local area temples. Our Guruswamy and some others had their mala blessed by Nambiar Guruswamy, a senior Guruswamy at Indiranagar Thippasandra on 4th march (Friday). Raja, Vidya and Amma, had their Malai at Ayyappa temple, Agara on the 2nd march morning at 8:00 am. Our Guruswamy came to the Agara temple on that particular day to do the malai ritual for us. He via Rajkumar Swamy bought the malai for us. At Ayyappa temple, the priest performed a sankalpam, pushpanjali and blessed each one of us before placing the mala around our necks. We were told to call out the name of the Lord by Shanranam vili or “Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa”. From there, we learned the sharanam vili and began chanting the 108 sharanam gosham.

We were now required to follow the austere daily anushtanams of an early bath, sharanam vili, nitya pooja prasadam, and a temple visit. We also limited ourselves to modest satvik home cooking. We dressed in black, which heightened our excitement for the trip and the Lord's Darshan at Sabarimalai. It also prepared us to keep things simple and minimised our food cravings, among other things. We had a quick early start every day, and the strong prana and spiritual energy kept us busy throughout the day.

Note: For additional details, refer to the section "Rituals and the travel as per the website of the Kerala Government"
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Default re: Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March

3-March-2022 (Thursday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
DIVYAMALAI VAZHUM AYYAN - AYYAPPA TAMIL DEVOTIONAL - T.S.RADHAKRISHNAJI



4-March-2022 (Friday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Kaanikkai Kondu Vanthen - Swamy Ayyappan Tamil song T.S.Radhakrishnaji



5-March-2022 (Saturday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
கருப்பு வெட்டி | Ayyappa Devotional | Bhakthi Malar Vol-3 | Sreehari Bhajana Sangam | Karuppu Vetti
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Old 19th March 2022, 22:00   #12
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5-March-2022 (Saturday)
The day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy

The flyer for Ayyappa Pooja was sent to all members inviting their family and friends


Ayyappan Poojai 20220305

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-1-ayyappan-poojai-20220305.jpeg


Pookalam

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-2-pookalam.jpeg


Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-3-ayyappa-decoration.jpeg


Ayyappa Sahasranama Archanai

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-4-ayyappa-sahasranama-archanai.jpeg

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-5-ayyappa-decoration-2.jpeg

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-6-ayyappa-sahasranama-archanai.jpeg

Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-7-ayyappa-sahasranama-archanai.jpeg

Ayyappa Pooja at Valampuri Vinayakar Temple

The much-awaited day of the Ayyappa Pooja was planned in the afternoon on 5th march afternoon. All of us were asked to assemble at the venue, Valampuri Vinayakar temple, Banaswadi at 12:00 (noon) to help with the decoration, rangoli, getting flowers ready for the Sahasranama archana of Lord Ayyappan. We gathered at the venue as scheduled and began preparing the arrangement of the lamps, flower decoration and pooja arrangements. The Rangoli was beautifully made by Rema akka and Uma Akka. Later, the flower petals were added to create a beautiful Pookalam which all of us helped to fill. The lamps were arranged in a semi-circular fashion adorned and ready for the Archana.


A mini lunch was arranged by our Guruswamy for all devotees, group members and volunteers consisting of bisibele bath, boondi and curd rice. After lunch, we later rested a while and got ready for the Sahasranama Archana for Ayyappa which began at 3:00 pm. The Sahasranama was led by Balu Chithappa and all the devotees offered flowers to the lamp, which symbolised the Lord’s presence. The flowers were distributed in baskets by other volunteers and devotees and refilled as when needed for the Archana. The Archana was over by 4:00 pm and the mantra chants had already spread an aura of blessings and spirituality amongst all present there. The lamps lit and the Ayyappa’s 18 steps were adorned with sandal paste, flowers and Kumkum.


At 4:00 pm, tea, chilli bajji and bonda were served to all devotees. The Ramakrishna Bhajan Samaj group had arrived for rendering the sampradya bhajan. They began the bhajan at 5:00 pm with thodaya Mangalam followed by Guru and Devata dhyanam songs. The bhajan set the mood for the congregational singing, in which everyone present joined in with the ensemble. Vidya was blessed to have offered her songs on Lord Ayyappa and Krishna. She sang a composition of her father-in-law Sri V.Sankaran “Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa endan Swasamey Sharanam Ayyappa”.

The Bhajan came to the helm with the singing of everyone’s favourite “enda malai Sevitthalum” and finally culminated in the lighting of lamps on the symbolic 18 steps. It is a practise followed that the lighting of the lamps was traditionally done by a kanni swamy (1st-time visit to Sabarimala). Raja and Sooryanarayan Athimber were asked to light the lamp on the 18 steps. The tube lights in the premises were turned off and lamps were bright and beautiful, and the entire group sang “Deva Sharanam Shree Sabareesa” with great devotion. The fragrance of burning camphor and incense agarbathis felt divine.


Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-8-bhajans-rk-bhajan-samaj.jpeg


https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...vW?usp=sharing

We were all served prasadam and dinner, which was a delicious spread of payasam, idli, upma, sambar and chutney. By 10:00 pm that night, we all dispersed to our respective homes.
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Old 20th March 2022, 14:12   #13
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6th march to 11th march

Each day started with a daily video link shared in the group by our guruswamy
Azhagu Azhagu Ayappan Azhagu | Manjapra Sri Mohan | Alangudi Radhakalyanam 2013


Haarangal Choodeeduvom..Tamil Swamy Ayyappan Devotional song T.S.Radhakrishnaji Live


Yaar Arivar Ayyappa - Manjapra Sri Mohan


Enn Thanthaikkoru Malayundu Ayyappa Tamil DevotionalT.S.Radhakrishnaji


Aadi Padi Jukebox - a song from the Album Bhakthi Malar Vol-5 sung by Sreehari Bhajana Sangam
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Old 20th March 2022, 14:14   #14
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6th march to 11th march

The Nitya anushtanams were followed every day and with each passing day, the devotion began to grow exponentially. The countdown had begun just 2 days before we start our divine trip. We were reminded to be on time at valampuri Vinayagar temple on 12th afternoon by 02:00 pm. As part of the ritual, we were all required to perform our pooja at home before heading to the venue, in order to pray for excellent darshan and a safe journey. The Guruswamy for Irumudi was expected to arrive at the venue around 02:30 pm to begin the pooja and perform our Irumudi. It was also expected that the rituals (Irumudi) would be concluded by 06:30 pm, allowing plenty of time for dinner. Also, the food arrangements were made at the Venue making it easy for all of us to have dinner and proceed to KR Puram Railway station by 07:45 pm.

On 11-Mar-2022, Kannu and Rema alongwith others visited Ulsoor Kempamma temple at 07:00 am to pray for a safe trip. This is a tradition being followed by the family for many years.
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Old 20th March 2022, 20:30   #15
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List of Pilgrims as part of our Sabarimala trip


Sabarimala Pilgrimage in March-pilgrims-sabarimala-20220312.png
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