The Sabarimala temple has been in news and has become even more famous after the Supreme Court verdict on September 28, 2018. Supreme Court allowed the entry of all the pilgrims regardless of gender, which also includes women in the menstruating age groups. Though the devotees and the locals have protested the idea and vehemently opposed the verdict, the debate is still on. So, let’s look at some interesting facts about the temple in the light of what’s happening in the nation.
1. Eternal Celibacy
Well, we know that women, post-puberty, and pre-menopause are not allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple. This rule in the temple has been in place for the last 1500 years because it is said that lord ayyappa was an eternal celibate.
2. Battle With Mahishi
According to a mythological tale, after mahishasur was killed by goddess Durga, mahishasur’s sister mahishi wanted to take revenge. Sabarimala is the very place where Mahishi, a buffalo faced demoness was killed by lord ayyappa in a battle.
3. The Name of the temple
All of us know about the famous character ‘shabari’ in the epic Ramayana. But how many of us know that shabari lived in the hills where the Sabarimala temple is located. And that’s why it is known as Sabarimala. Interesting right?
4. The Number 18
The Sabarimala temple is surrounded by eighteen hills and the number of steps you need to cross to reach the temple is also eighteen. Wow! The first five steps are said to symbolize ‘senses’ whereas eight bad qualities like anger and jealousy are symbolized by the next eight steps. The next two are the symbol of inborn qualities and ignorance and knowledge are what the last two symbolize.
Vrartham is a 41 day fast with certain rules that you are supposed to follow before you reach the holy shrine of lord ayyappa. You have to stay on a lacto vegetarian diet and you can’t cut your nails and hair for 41 days.
6. The regular chanting
A song called harivarasanam which has 8 stanzas and 108 words were written by Srinivasa Iyer. And this song for lord ayyappa is chanted every day before the temple is closed. This tradition is going on for years and years and has never failed to miss even a day.
7. Time to visit the temple
The temple is open on the first five days of every Malayalam month, during the days of mandala puja which is approximately from mid-November and mid-December. It is also open on Makara Sankranti (makaravilakku) and mahavishuvasankranti.
8. The heads of the temple
The traditional family named as Thazhamon Madomhas possess the powers to make decisions over the matters related to Sabarimala temple. The highest priest here is called as tantri and is the temple head. Tantri’s are present during all the rituals and poojas that happen in the temple.
Prasadam is the food which is first presented to the lord. After the ritual is complete, the food is distributed to the devotees who are visiting the temple. Aravanapayasam and appam prepared using ghee, rice, jaggery, and sugar are served as prasadam at the temple.
10. The largest annual pilgrimage
With approximately 50 million devotees visiting every year, Sabarimala temple is one of the largest annual pilgrimages. People from all over the country come to visit lord ayyappa and take his blessings.
11. A mosque in the vicinity
A mosque which is made in the name of a Muslim saint vavar exists and is made in the vicinity of the temple. Gathering themselves around the mosque, it is said that Devotees chant the name of lord ayyappa and vavar before they enter the temple.
12. Blessings in the forms of the stars
It is believed that lord ayyappa showers his blessings on the devotees in the form of a star which is called as MAKARA JYOTHI, which itself means star. Temple is also open during these days.
So, these are a few known and interesting facts about the famous Sabarimala temple. We hope that you found this post informative.
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