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3.5 / 5 52 votes

State rank: 33 out of 40 Places To Visit In Kerala


Ideal duration: 1 day

Best time: Sep-Apr (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Kochi (Check Flights)


"India's own Mecca"

Sabarimala Tourism

More than 30 million pilgrims visit the temple in Sabarimala annually, making it the largest in India and second largest in the world, after Hajj Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Tucked amongst dense forests and gurgling streams, the temple town of Sabarimala on the Pampa banks named after the mythological character Sabari shelters the famous Ayyappa temple. People believe that Vishnu's incarnate Parasurama placed the Ayyappa Idol at the top of the mountain. More than 30 million pilgrims visit the temple annually, making it the largest in India and second largest in the world, after Haji Pilgrimage of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. However, women of age 12-50 years, during an active menstrual cycle are not allowed inside the temple. Also, do note that the temple opens only 2 months in a year. Trekkers also find joy in trekking up the lush mountain to reach the temple.


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The world famous Sabarimala pilgrimage is undertaken by thousands of ardent devotees every year. A strict-41 day fast is observed before the pilgrimage, which is believed to be a cleanser for the mind, body and soul. The devotees follow a lacto-vegetarian diet and practice celibacy and teetotalism. They also do not cut their hair or nails during this period, allowing them to grow. Their attire is composed of simple black or saffron garments, and they wear a special mala or chain made of Rudraksha beads. The devotees are expected to lead an altruistic lifestyle by helping others and doing service in the name of their Lord Ayyappan. After the fast period, the devotees follow the difficult path through Erumely to reach the Pamba river, or else they arrive by vehicles. They then begin their long climb from the Neeli Mala to Sabari Mala, the abode of Lord Ayyappan. Women between the ages of 10 to 50 are not allowed on Sabarimala, following the 1991 ruling by the Kerala High Court. This is now up for contention yet again and has been receiving widespread coverage in the media over the last year.

Located in the Western Ghats, Sabarimala is one of the busiest pilgrim centres in the world. Built on a hill inside the forests with the river Pampa flowing through, the lord Ayyappa temple is popular not only for the legends associated with it but also due to its serene location. Though the shrine can be visited for a limited number of days in the year, Sabarimala remains a favourite for trekkers and devotees who enjoy the walk through the lush green forests and hill tracks to reach the temple.

Along your pilgrimage journey you will find dainty little restaurants dotting the way serving essentials of Keralan Cuisine. However, while the temple and the spiritual experiences surrounding it are the centers of attraction, there is an absence of any significant food culture and hence it might best to carry your own food.

View 2 Restaurants in Sabarimala >

Day 1- Trek up to Lord Ayappa shrine and say your prayers in the early morning. Visit Malikauram Devi Temple.
Day 2- Visit the Vavar shrine.

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Holidify's Opinion

  What's Great?

Pleasant ambience, lush green forests.

  What's not so Great?

Women between 12-60 years of age not allowed in the temple.

For Whom

Protecting the busiest pilgrimage shrine in India as well as the second busiest shrine in the world, Sabarimala is mostly visited by Hindu devotees. The lush green Western Ghats attracts a lot of trekkers in the region.


How to Reach Sabarimala

Sabarimala has no airport or railway station. The nearest international airports are at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram while the nearest railway stations are at Kottayam, Ernakulam and Chenganur. The... (Read More)

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