The Sabarimala Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, is one of the most renowned and prominent temples of all the Sastha temples. This temple is significant not only for its religious elements but also because of the cultural, societal and cultural elements attached to it. This is perhaps why this is one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world; which attracts over 100 million devotees each year.
The temple is unique in the sense that it follows a liberal approach, allowing entry to devotees of all castes and religions. Every pilgrim is given the status of "Ayyappa" which maintains the actual spirit of "Tattvamasi" or "That is you". It means that the devotees are forms of God themselves.
Located in the Western Ghats of the Pathanamthitta District in Kerala, the Sabarimala Temple is situated on a hilltop, amongst 18 other hills, at the height of about 4,000 feet above sea level. To the left of this temple is a place dedicated to the Vavar, who was a Sufi and friend of Lord Ayyappa. This place is called 'Vavarunada' and is considered to be the epitome of religious harmony. The devotees begin their trek to the revered temple with utmost dedication and sincerity at the dawn of the Vrichikam month. Those who have undertaken the journey would avow that the pilgrimage to Sabarimala requires mind power, physical stamina, devotion and determination and is indeed a tricky one taken through trying and testing paths.
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