Dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, the Sabarimala Temple is one of the popular pilgrimage destinations in the world and one of the richest temples in India as well. With having historical significance, the temple is sure to excite you with some of its lesser known facts. For instance, were you aware, the Dakshina that is offered to the priests of the temple is in crores of rupees? Well, there are more such interesting facts that have been mentioned in the blog below. So, let us quickly take a look at some of the interesting facts about Sabarimala Temple that you probably didn’t know.
The deity of this ancient Hindu Temple in Kerala is Lord Ayyappa, a Brahmachari who practiced celibacy. The history of Sabarimala temple reveals that the male devotees are opposed to the idea of letting the women belonging to menstrual age group between 10 and 50 years to enter inside the temple. This rule is being followed in the temple for past 1500 years.
The devotees who are planning to enter the holy shrine are supposed to follow a specific colour code which should be either black or blue. Also, they are even seen smearing Vibhuti (ash of the incense sticks) or Sandalwood paste on their forehead while performing the pilgrimage.
You might not be aware of the fact, but the Sabarimala Temple holds mythological importance. The temple is related to the history of Lord Ayyappa and is believed to be constructed on the land where he killed Mahishi who was a buffalo-faced demoness, the sister of demon Mahishasura.
Even if you have visited the temple you might not have noticed that the temple is surrounded by 18 hills. The number of stairs you need to climb for reaching the Sabarimala Temple is also 18.
Having a strong connection to Vavar, who was a Muslim saint, this popular South Indian temple has a mosque named after him. However, the exact history of the relation between Sabarimala Temple and Vavar is still unknown.
You must be aware of the famous character ‘Shabari’ from Ramayana. The Sabarimala Temple mythology depicts that Shabari used to live among the 18 hills where the temple is located, that is why the temple came to be known as Sabarimala Temple.
All the devotees who are to visit the famous Hindu shrine of Lord Ayyappa are expected to follow a strict 41-day fasting prior to the pilgrimage. This fasting ritual is known as Vratham.
Devotees coming to this religious tourism attraction in Kerala has to follow some of the rule. They are forbidden to consume alcohol, tobacco, non-vegetarian food, use foul language, and they have to trim nails and hair or shave their heads. Also each pilgrim has to take bath twice a day during this period.
An important ritual needs to be followed by the pilgrims known as Neyyabhishekam which involves pouring of sacred ghee on the idol of Lord Ayyappa. The ritual is symbolic of merging of the soul with the divine. The devotees carry the ghee in handwoven cotton bags which is called Pallikettu or Irumudi.
Yet another lesser known fact about Lord Ayyappa Temple is that an estimated income of “mel shaanthis” in the temple is around Rs. 52,00,000. The amount got is calculated in the Dakshina of just the period of 56 days that is offered to these mel shanthis.
The prasadam that is served inside the temple also represents a local delicacy that people of Kerala enjoy. Once the ritual of offering prasadam in front of Lord Ayyappa is over, the rest of the food is distributed to the food courts and local vendors in Kerala.
Being one of the largest pilgrimage destinations in the world, the temple is visited by one hundred million pilgrims every year.
The literal meaning of Makara Jyothi is a star which is worshipped by people following Hinduism and are devotees of the Sabarimala temple. Also, it is believed by the devotees that Lord Ayyappa himself blesses them in the form of a star. It is those rare days other than the ordinary days when temple complex is open between November 15 and December 26 and April 14. Tourist can even make a visit during the first five days of the Malayalam calendar.
These were some of the fascinating facts that are related to Ayyappa Temple, one of the popular pilgrimage destinations in Kerala. The temple is definitely worth a visit as it brings the devotees closer to God. If you are seeking peace and blessing of Lord Ayyappa then head to Kerala where you can witness the power of faith.
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