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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Makara Jyothi 2015 – Sabarimala Makaravilakku Festival on 14 January 2015

Makara Jyoti (Light of Capricorn) – Sabarimala Makaravilakku Festival on 14th January 2015 – Millions of pilgrims are expected to witness the famous Sabarimala Makaravilakku at the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala, India.
Makaravilaku – Makara Jyothi marks the end of the Sabarimala Mandala Pooja pilgrimage season. According to the traditional Malayalam panchangam and Vedic astrology, the Makaravilakku pooja will take place at 6:44 PM in the evening.
Sabarimala pilgrims will be able to witness the Makarajyothi Anduthram star at the Ponnambalamedu and the Thiruvabharanam (traditional antique gold ornaments brought from the Pandalam Palace) adorned Lord Ayyappa Swamy.

Sabarimala Makarasamkramam (Makara Samkramam) is the time when Lord Surya (the Sun God) moves from Dhanu Rasi to Makaram Rasi. Makarasamkrama Pooja is at Sabarimala temple during this time. Pilgrims will be allowed to climb the Pathinettampadi (the holy 18 steps) after Ucha Pooja. Devotees can witness the most important evening Deeparadhana and Makara Jyothi Darshan. The most interesting feature of deeparadhana is that the Brahminy kite (eagle) is hovers over the Sabarimala Temple indicating to start the auspicious evening deeparadhana on Makaravilakku day. After the deeparadhana, the Makarajyothi star will appear on the sky. Makara Jyothi is worshiped as a part of ritual in Sabarimala Temple on Makara Sankranti on 14 January every year. Devout Hindus believe that the jyothi is a celestial phenomenon and its sighting is auspicious and brings good luck and blessings.

It is said that Lord Sri Rama and his brother Lakshmana met Sabari, an urban devotee, at Sabarimala. Sabari offered the Lord fruits after tasting them. But the Lord accepted them gladly and whole-heartedly. The Lord then turned and saw a divine person doing tapas. He asked Sabari who it was. Sabari said it was Sasta. Rama walked towards Sasta and the latter stood up to welcome the Prince of Ayodhya. The anniversary of this incident is celebrated on Makara Vilakku day. It is believed that on Makara Vilakku day, Lord Dharmasasta stops his tapas to bless his devotees.

Another popular mythical belief is that the Makara Vilakku is lit there in commemoration of the aarathi performed by Dev rishis and Devas at the time of revelation of His Divine form (Roopa) by Manikantan (an incarnation of Sasta). This event marks the culmination of the long and arduous pilgrimage to Sabarimala shrine. The light disappears in the evening after the Thiruvaabharanam (divine ornaments) are brought into the sanctum sanctorum and are placed on the Lord. The most significant rituals of worship are performed at the day of Makara Sankaranthi.

Sabarimala Shrine to Produce 14 Million Cans of Prasad

The Sabarimala shrine, whose new pilgrimage season starts Nov 17, will produce a record 14 million cans of 'prasad'.

Situated on the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level, the Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta district lies around 100 km from Sabrimala. It is accessible only on foot from Pamba.

Even though the temple is now open on the first few days every month of the Malayalam calendar, the peak pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November. This year, this falls Nov 17.

Temple executive officer V.S. Jayakumar said the production of prasadam, called aravana, will commence Oct 27.

"This season we expect to produce a record 14 million (250 ml) cans of aravana. When the temple opens for this festival season, we will have with us close to three million cans of aravana ready," Jayakumar told IANS.

The main ingredients of the aravana are rice, ghee, jaggery and spices.

Pilgrims can book the prasad in advance online or at all branches of Dhanalaksmi Bank or through coupons from temples run by the Travancore Devaswom Board.

"This is to avoid the rush once they come to Sabarimala, where they can collect their prasadam," Jayakumar said.

He said the production of appam, (another prasadam) will begin only Nov 12 because it has a shelf life of just two weeks.

"This time we plan to make a record 7.5 million appams. We will have two kits. One will include two packets of appam and one can of aravana besides a packet each of sandalwood paste and vibhuthi for Rs.160. For Rs.270 one gets an additional can of aravana and two additional packets of appam," added Jayakumar.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Modi in sabarimala

கேரளாவில் உள்ள சபரிமலை அய்யப்பன் கோவிலில் நடைபெறும் விழாக்களில் மண்டல பூஜை மற்றும் மகர விளக்கு வழிபாடு மிகவும் பிரசித்தி பெற்றதாகும்.
நவம்பர் மாதம் முதல் ஜனவரி மாதம் வரை இந்த விழாக்கள் நடைபெறும். இந்த விழாக்களின்போது நாடு முழுவதிலும் இருந்து பக்தர்கள் கோவிலில் திரண்டு சுவாமியை வழிபடுவார்கள். அப்போது முக்கிய பிரமுகர்களும் வருவது வழக்கம்.
இம்முறை பிரதமர் நரேந்திரமோடி சபரிமலைக்கு வர வாய்ப்புள்ளதாக கேரள மாநில பாரதீய ஜனதா கட்சியின் தலைவர் முரளீதரன் தெரிவித்தார். இது தொடர்பாக அவர் நிருபர்களிடம் கூறியதாவது:–
சபரிமலை அய்யப்பன் கோவில் மண்டல பூஜை விழா அடுத்த மாதம் தொடங்க இருக்கிறது. பிரதமர் நரேந்திரமோடி கேரளா வந்தபோது சபரிமலையின் சிறப்பு பற்றியும், அய்யப்ப சாமியின் மகிமை குறித்தும் எடுத்துச் சொன்னோம். மலையில் அமைந்திருக்கும் அந்த கோவிலுக்கான மலை பயணம் குறித்தும் தெரிவித்தோம்.
தற்போது மண்டல பூஜை தொடங்க இருப்பதை அடுத்து பிரதமர் மோடி இங்கு வரவேண்டும் என அழைப்பு விடுத்தோம்.
பிரதமர் நரேந்திரமோடி சபரிமலை வரும்பட்சத்தில் அவர் செல்லவேண்டிய மலை பாதை, பார்க்க வேண்டிய முக்கிய கோவில்கள், அங்கு உள்ள பாதுகாப்பு அம்சங்கள் குறித்து பிரதமர் அலுவலக அதிகாரிகளுக்கு அறிக்கை அளிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.
பிரதமர் மோடி சபரிமலைக்கு வருவார் என பிரதமர் அலுவலகத்தில் இருந்து உறுதியான தகவல் வெளியாகவில்லை. இருப்பினும் அவர் இந்த சீசனுக்கு சபரிமலை வருவார் என மாநில பாரதீய ஜனதா கட்சி உறுதியாக நம்புகிறது.
ஒவ்வொரு ஆண்டும் சபரிமலையில் நடைபெறும் விழாவில் பங்கேற்கும் பக்தர்களின் எண்ணிக்கை அதிகரித்து வருகிறது. ஆனால் மாநில அரசு பக்தர்களுக்கு செய்ய வேண்டிய அடிப்படை வசதிகளை முறையாக செய்து கொடுக்கவில்லை.
கடந்த ஆண்டு சபரிமலை செல்லும் சாலைகளை சீரமைக்க ரூ.65 கோடி நிதி ஒதுக்கப்பட்டது. ஆனால் அந்த நிதி மூலம் எந்த சாலையும் சரியாக சீரமைக்கப்படவில்லை. இதை கண்டித்து மாநில பாரதீய ஜனதா கட்சி போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட உள்ளது. பஞ்சாயத்து வாரியாக இந்தப் போராட்டம் முன் எடுத்து செல்லப்படும்.
இவ்வாறு அவர் கூறினார்.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sabarimala Masterplan | Pilgrim facilities

MILLIONS of Sri Ayyappa devotees visit the hill temple every year. Since the temple is located within the Tiger Reserve Area and the forest, there is limitation of space to accommodate the surge of pilgrims. It becomes imperative to optimize land utilization to provide required facilities and amenities for safe and happy pilgrimage.
A COMPREHENSIVE SABARIMALA MASTER PLAN has been prepared (by IL&FS-Ecosmart) with the objectives of planned overall development of:
  • Sannidhanam area, the abode of Lord Ayyappa on the mountain top
  • Pampa – the river front and the Pampa area
  • Trekking paths to the hill top
  • Development of base camp facilities at Nilakkal
  • Development of feeder towns/places like Erumeli, Pathanamthitta, Vandiperiyar etc. and
  • The approach roads to Sabarimala
The Master Plan envisages:
  • Infrastructure Development
  • Ecological Sustainability and
  • Pilgrim facilities
PROGRAMME PLAN: The Master Plan is considered as a broad programme plan with indicative proposals for each of the above locations/subjects.
DETAILED MASTER PLANS for each of the Master Plan locations/subjects are being prepared employing services of individual consultants.
PROJECT PLANS are being prepared for each of the components of the Detailed Master Plans – which are adopted for implementation.
From within the Indicative Master Plan for Sabarimala, priority is given for preparation of detailed Master Plans for Sannidhanam area and Nilakkal area. Priority is also given for improvements to the trekking paths and for specific projects in Pampa. Some of the major projects detailed out in the first phase are scheduled for implementation immediately after January 2012. The projects are conceived with pilgrim conveniences in focus to ensure safe and comfortable journey, stay and darshan.
  • Comprehensive plan for Sabarimala Development encompassing religious, infrastructural, environmental aspects
  • 12.675 hectares Sabarimala and 110.524 hectares at Nilakkal available with Travancore Devswaom Board to provide pilgrim facilities
  • Essential Interventions across the region (Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki districts and in major temples enroute to Sabarimala) including base camps, transit camps, traffic movement, safety and health, water & sanitation plans

Instruction to sabarimala pilgrims

  • Take rest for 5 minutes after a walk of 10 minutes during the climb.Use the traditional path – Marakoottam, Saramkuthy, Nadapanthal – to reach Sannidhanam.
  • Follow the queue system to reach Pathinettampadi.
  • Use the Nadapanthal fly over for return journey.
  • Ascertain the prevailing crowd  situation and then only proceed to Sannidhanam  from Pampa.
  • While using Dolly, make payment only at the Devaswom counter and keep the receipt.
  • Subject yourself for security check at security check points.
  • Approach police for any help.
  • Inform police about any suspicious characters.
  • Buy edible items from licensed outlets only.
  • Keep Pampa, Sannidhanam and the trekking paths clean.
  • Park vehicles only at the allotted parkig slots.
  • Deposit waste in the waste boxes only.
  • Avail the facilities of medical centers and oxygen parlours if needed.
  • In case of isolation from groups /friends  devotees may report at police aid posts.
  • Cleanliness- Throw waste only in collection bins. Keep the temple premises and trekking paths clean;
  • Fire –Keep matchbox & other inflammable materials away from children.
  • Fire-if lighted should be put out immediately after use;
  • Remove plugs from sockets after use
  • Place ‘viri’ only in the designated parking areas
  • Follow queue system- Do not jump queue segment- do not rush in queue\Approach police for help
  • Security check- cooperate with staff
  • Use only toilets for urination/bowel clearance
  • ID cards with name/address/telephone number to be hung on the necks of children/aged and Malikappurams-report to police when lost in the crowd
  • Do not use mobile phones at the temple premises.
  • Do not consume alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not jump the queue.
  • Do not rush while in the queue.
  • Do not carry weapons or other explosives substances.
  • Do not entertain unauthorized vendors.
  • Do not urinate outside toilets and clear bowels outside latrines.
  • Do not make extra payment for any service.
  • Do not hesitate to approach police for any help.
  • Do not throw waste anywhere other than the waste bins.
  • Do not break coconuts on the Pathinetampadi.
  • Do not break coconuts anywhere other than on designated places on both sides of Pathinettampadi.
  • Do not kneel at Pathinetampadi while climbing the holy steps.
  • Do not use any path other than Nadapanthal flyover for return journey.
  • Do not rest anywhere at Upper Thirumuttam or Thanthrinada.
  • Do not use pathways for viris at Nadapanthal and lower Thirumuttam.
  • Fire – do not cause forest fire – do not throw burned wood/camphor/incandescent sticks etc. carelessly
  • Fire – do not carry inflammable liquids, fire crackers.Cooking gas, stoves etc.  are  not be used in Sannidhanam area
  • Fire – electrical appliances are potential source of fire – do not overload by putting multiple connections
  • Fire – burnt matches – do not throw carelessly
  • Fire – do not cook food inside ‘viri’  sheds
  • Fire – do not light camphor in temporary sheds
  • Do not carry knives and other sharp weapons
  • Do not operate electrical equipments with wet hands
  • Trekking – do not climb hurriedly
  • Do not smoke in Pampa, Sannidhanam and along the trekking routes
  • Makara Jyothi Darshan – do not climb trees and on unsafe buildings
  • Begging – prohibited – do not encourage
  • Do not rest anywhere at Upper Thirumuttom.

Saturday, 11 October 2014



Pamba 5.0 km. Vadasserikkara 57.0 km. Erumeli 47.0 km. Pathanamthitta 69.0 km. Vandiperiyar 30.0 km.

Pathanamthitta District

There are strict traditional practices, rituals, preparations and dress codes meant for those intending to visit Sabarimala. In preparation for their visit, pilgrims wear black rudraksha beads around their neck, dress in black or blue mundus/dhotis and abstain from the consumption of non-vegetarian food and alcohol. They also take a vow to celibacy for the 40 days prior to their pilgrimage. Women in the menstruating age group of 10 to 60 are not permitted to visit Sabarimala.
Sabarimala can be reached traveling through towns like Ettumanoor, Kottayam, Changanassery, Thiruvalla, Chengnanoor and Adoor. The most convenient route for pilgrims in south Kerala is to journey via Adoor and for those coming from north Kerala to proceed via Kottayam to reach Sabarimala.

How to reach Sabarimala by air?

Sabarimala is located in the Western Ghats, inside a forest area in south Kerala. The nearest airports are the international airports in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Pilgrims reaching Kochi by air will have to travel about 160 km by road and those flying in to Thiruvananthapuram will have to travel about 170 km by road in order to reach the temple.
Pilgrims can also visit Sabarimala by arriving at Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Kozhikkode or use the TamilNadu airports of Madurai or Coimbatore. These airports, however, are only the first step in the journey to Sabarimala, as the next part of the journey will have to be completed by rail or road. Pilgrims arriving at Kozhikode by air, for instance, will have to travel about 330 km by road or by rail and road. Similarly people reaching Coimbatore and Madurai will have to travel about 315km by road from Coimbatore and 250 km by rail and road from Madurai to reach Sabarimala. Pilgrims from Coimbatore can also reach Kottayam by train. The approximate distance is 250 km. After the train journey, travelers will have to complete the last 90 km by road. Similarly, pilgrims from Kozhikode can also travel by train to reach Kottayam, which is about 260 km away. From Madurai Airport, pilgrims can visit Sabarimala via Kumali by road.

How to reach Sabaraimala by train?

There is no direct railway line connecting other towns to Sabarimala but there are a few railway stations near the temple. The nearest railway stations are at Kottayam, Thiruvalla and Chenganur which are about 90 kilometres from Sabarimala. For pilgrims coming from places outside Kerala, like Mangalapuram, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Delhi, disembarking at Kottayam railway station is the most convenient stop followed by Thiruvalla and Chenganur for easy access to Sabarimala.
Some trains end their trip at Ernakulam which is to the northwest of Kottayam. Pilgrims getting down at Ernakulam will need to proceed to Kottayam by boarding another train for an additional journey of about 1½ hours. They may also proceed by road to reach Sabarimala. Some trains may go from Ernakulam to Kollam or Thiruvananthapuram via Alappuzha and these will not touch Kottayam. Pilgrims traveling in these trains may need to get down at Alappuzha and then proceed by road through Changanassery and Erumely, or else, may need to get down at Kayamkulam and proceed by road via Adoor. The distance in both cases by road is about 125 kilometres. For pilgrims coming from Thiruvananthapuram by train, the best stations to disembark are Thiruvalla or Chenganur and then travel about 90 kms by road to reach Sabarimala.

How to reach Sabarimala by road?

The majority of visitors to Sabarimala arrive by road. Devotees coming from the state of Karnataka who come via Managalore or Mysore can come to Thrissur town in the central part of Kerala. They may then take the Moovattupuzha-Kottayam road to reach Sabarimala. It is about 210 kilometres from Thrissur to Sabarimala.
Devotees from Tamilnadu or Andra Pradesh can reach Thrissur via Coimbatore or Guddalore. Pilgrims coming from the central regions of the State of Tamilnadu can come via Madurai or else through Kumali to reach Sabarimala. From Madurai, it is about 250 kilometres by road to reach the shrine.
For pilgrims coming from regions in southern Tamilnadu like Nagercoil, Sabarimala may be reached via Thiruvananthapuram - Kottarakkara -and Adoor. Sabarimala is about 250 kilometres from Nagercoil. Pigrims can also arrive via NH47 from Thiruvananthapuram via Kollam, Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara, Chengannur or Thiruvalla.
Pilgrims arriving from Chenkotta of Tamilnadu, can come to Punaloor and reach Sabarimala via Ranni and Erumeli. Pilgrims coming by road from Ernakulam can proceed via Vaikom-Ettumanoor route to reach Kottayam and from there through the Kanjirappalli-Erumeli route to reach Sabarimala. The total distance is about 165 km.
And for those coming from Alappuzha, Sabarimala can be accessed by road through the Chanaganassery-Erumeli route. In addition to journeying from Alappuzha, pilgrims can proceed through Thiruvalla, Kozhencherry and Pathanamthitta to reach Sabarimala, which is about 125 km by road.