Sabarimala ( Kerala , South India)
Sabrimala is named after Sabrimala shrine and located 64 kms away from Kottayam. The shrine of Sabarimalai, dedicated to Dharma Shastha and popularly called as Ayyappan, is located in the high ranges east of Kottayam. Ayyappan is worshipped by Malayalis as the son of Shiva and Vishnu, associated with the epic story of Mohini. He is called as Hari Hara Puthra. Every year during December-January, this pilgrim centre attracts lacs of devotees from different parts of the country. It is believed that Lord Ayyappan, the deity of Sabrimala, was consecrated by Parasurama himself in the Sabari Hills. The Ayyappa cult which transcends the barriers of caste and creed has been catching up year after year. Millions of pilgrims embark on the 40 day penance during this pilgrimage. The shrine of Ayyappan is reached through eighteen steps leading to it.
There are two routes to this temple- one passing through Erumalai which is considered traditional and the prescribed route. A shorter route takes off from the Mount Estate on Kottayam-Kumali-Cumbam road. The road route from Kottayam is via Chalakkayam. The climb up to the shrine is about 5kms. The journey is arduous and sanitary conditions are very poor. Accommodation during the journey will be only in temporary sheds.