The 18 holy steps of Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple
The 18 holy steps of Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple

Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple is situated in Pathanamthitta District, Perunad grama Panchayat of Kerala state. This temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan and also known as Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple is located at the top of the hill, surrounded by 18 hills, which is 1535 feet above the sea level. This temple is fully surrounded with pleasant mountains and dense forests. Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple is considered to be the largest pilgrimage in the world, where nearly 50 million devotees visits this temple every year.

The mythology says that the Lord Ayyappan have meditated at this place after killing the arrogant demon princess Mahishi. The Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple will be open for worship only during mid-November to the end of December, during Makar Sankranti (January 14) and Maha Vishuva Sankranti (April 14). The devotees of Sabarimala temple are easily recognized by black or blue dress, wearing Rudraksha (a special garland), with Vibhuti (sacred ash) on their forehead. And they don’t shave till their pilgrimage gets completed. There is no clear information about the exact year of the installation of this temple, it was unreachable for about three centuries and later it was identified by one of the King and was renovated.

Devotees waiting in queue for Dharshan at Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple
Devotees waiting in queue for Dharshan at Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple


The presiding deity of this Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple is Lord Ayyappan, who was the owner of the great message “That Thou Art”, refers to “You are part of the Universal soul. There is an important message given at the holy Sabarimala temple to the devotees is the ultimate knowledge, that each individual is a God himself or herself. And hence the pilgrims of this temple call each other as “Swami”. Women at the age group of 10 to 50 (Women who are in the menstrual age group) are not allowed to enter Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, He forbid the Women under this age because Lord Ayyappa is a Bramhachari (celibate).

The traditional priest family who has the power to take important decisions regarding the temple is “Thazhamon Madom”. The devotees carry Pallikettu or Irumudi, a bag made of hand-woven cotton cloth, which contains the offerings for Lord Ayyappan which includes sacred ghee to pour on the idol of Lord Ayyappan, which signifies the merging of Jeevathma with Paramathma. The first journey of pilgrim to Sabarimala temple carry Red colored Irumudi, who are called as Kanni Ayyappan and the others carry Navy blue color Irumudi.

An aerial view of Sanctum Sanctorum of Lord Ayyappan inside the temple
An aerial view of Sanctum Sanctorum of Lord Ayyappan inside the temple

Pooja Timings


  • Temple Opening – 3.00 am
  • Nirmalyam – 3.05 am
  • Neyyabhishekam – 3:05 am – 11.30 am
  • Maha Ganapathi Homam – 04.20 am
  • Usha Pooja – 7.30 am
  • UchaKala Pooja – 12.30 pm
  • Temple Closing – 1.00 pm


  • Temple Opening – 3.00 pm
  • Deeparadhana – 6.15 pm
  • Pushpabhishekam – 8.00 pm
  • Athazha Pooja – 11.00 pm
  • Harivarasanam – 11.30 pm
  • Closing the Sanctorum – 11.45 pm


  • Onam Festival – August
  • Sree Chithira Attathirunal Festival – November
  • Mandala Pooja Festival – December
  • Makaravilakku Festival – January
  • Sabarimala Utsavam – March
  • Kodiyettu day Festival – March
  • Panguni utra aarattu – April
  • Meda Vishu Festival – April
  • Prathishta uthsav – May
By Road

The main trunk road to Sabarimala is Pathanamthitta – Pamba. The distance from Pathanamthitta District center to Sabarimala is about 70 km. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operates, regular daily bus services from Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulum and Kumili and also operates more services to all major towns of Kerala and neighboring states.

By Train

Chengannur Railway Station (82 km) (Declared as Gateway of Sabarimala), Tiruvalla Railway Station (92 km), Kottayam Railway Station (120 km) and Kollam Junction railway station (129 km) are the nearest railway stations.

By Air

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport (170 km) and Cochin International Airport, at Nedumbassery, Kochi (160 km) are the nearest airports.

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