Sabarimala Temple is a renowned Hindu pilgrimage site located in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta district in the state of Kerala, India. Dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, a revered deity in Hinduism, Sabarimala attracts millions of devotees annually, making it one of the most visited and prominent pilgrimage destinations in the country.
Key features and aspects of Sabarimala Temple include:
- Lord Ayyappa: The presiding deity of Sabarimala is Lord Ayyappa, considered to be a synthesis of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Devotees believe that Lord Ayyappa is a celibate deity and worship him with great devotion.
- Makaravilakku Festival: The temple is particularly famous for the annual Makaravilakku festival, which usually takes place in January. The festival is marked by the celestial appearance of a divine light, known as Makarajyothi, atop the Ponnambalamedu hill, visible from the temple premises. Pilgrims consider witnessing this light as a divine and auspicious experience.
- Mandala Pooja: The pilgrimage season to Sabarimala typically spans from mid-November to mid-January, known as the Mandala season. Devotees observe a 41-day austerity period, known as the Mandalam, before embarking on the pilgrimage to the temple.
- Pathinettam Padi: Pilgrims undertake a challenging trek through dense forests and steep hills to reach the Sabarimala Temple. The final climb includes ascending the sacred 18 steps, known as Pathinettam Padi, symbolizing the 18 divine steps that Lord Ayyappa took.
- Restrictions and Practices: Sabarimala is known for certain unique practices and traditions. The temple historically barred the entry of women of menstruating age, although this practice has been a subject of legal and social debates in recent times.
- Pilgrimage Diversity: Devotees from various backgrounds, irrespective of caste, creed, or nationality, participate in the pilgrimage to seek the blessings of Lord Ayyappa. The pilgrimage is a symbol of unity and devotion, bringing together people from different walks of life.
- Pamba River: The pilgrimage usually involves a ceremonial bath in the sacred Pamba River before ascending the hills to reach the temple. Pilgrims also carry the traditional offering called ‘Irumudi’ – a two-compartment bag containing offerings for Lord Ayyappa.
While Sabarimala has deep spiritual significance for devotees, it has also been a focal point for discussions regarding traditions, gender equality, and the balance between religious practices and modern societal norms.
KSRTC Special Buses to Sabarimala
KSRTC Special Sabrimala Bus from Alappuzha
Alappuzha: On Wednesday, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) commenced inter-state operations to accommodate the significant influx of pilgrims from neighboring states, particularly Tamil Nadu. Initially, services are being introduced to three destinations: Palani, Coimbatore, and Tenkasi. Additionally, the corporation has secured permits for extending services to Chennai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Madurai, and Kanya Kumari. “We have initiated inter-state services to Palani, Coimbatore, and Tenkasi. Initially, these services will be organized based on passenger demand, with a fixed schedule to be established later. Services to the other destinations mentioned will be introduced subsequently, depending on passenger demand,” stated Sunil Kumar, KSRTC Special Officer, Pamba.
KSRTC Special Sabrimala Bus from Ernakulam
KSRTC has implemented extensive preparations for pilgrims attending the Sabarimala Mandala Mahotsavam this time. Specially arranged buses awaited the arrival of thousands of Ayyappa devotees at railway stations who had completed their pilgrimage and returned from the shrine. Special services operated from Chengannur, Kottayam, and Ernakulam railway stations to transport Ayyappa devotees, arriving by train from various states, to Pampa. At Chengannur railway station, KSRTC has established a help desk system to facilitate the transportation of devotees from the railway station to Pampa. A total of 113 buses have been designated for devotees at Chengannur bus station, with a provision for continuously parking 5 buses at the railway station.
KSRTC Karnataka Special Buses from Bangalore to Sabrimala
Exciting News from Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is set to roll out an incredible new Volvo bus service, connecting the vibrant city to the sacred precincts of Nilakkal, near Pampa-Sabarimala in Kerala’s enchanting Pathanamthitta district. Aimed at enhancing the travel experience for devotees making the pilgrimage to the revered hill temple, this service is poised to commence its journey on December 1, ushering in a seamless and comfortable travel option.
For a fare of Rs 1,600, passengers can embark on this spiritually fulfilling journey. The Volvo bus is scheduled to embark from the bustling Shanthinagar Bus Station in Bengaluru at 1:50 pm, promising a departure infused with convenience. The overnight expedition will unfold, with the bus gracefully arriving at Nilakkal (Pampa-Sabarimala) at 6:45 am the following day, perfectly timed for devotees to start their spiritual sojourn.
Not just a one-way endeavor, the return journey is equally accommodative. The bus will bid farewell to the spiritual haven of Nilakkal (Pampa-Sabarimala) at 6 pm, ensuring passengers are back in the heart of Bengaluru by 10 am. The KSRTC, in a spirited statement, expressed its commitment to providing a hassle-free and memorable travel experience for pilgrims undertaking this sacred journey.
So mark your calendars, dear travelers, as December 1 heralds the commencement of a transformative journey, where comfort meets spirituality aboard the new Volvo bus service from Bengaluru to Nilakkal. Embrace the convenience, relish the spiritual ambiance, and let KSRTC redefine your pilgrimage experience!
TNSTC/ SETC Sabrimala Special Buses
Chennai: The State Express Transport Corporation (SETC), a government-owned entity in Tamil Nadu, has declared its plans to run special bus services to Sabarimala in Kerala from November 16 to January 16. These exclusive ultra-deluxe and non-stop services are scheduled to originate from Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, and Puducherry/Cuddalore. According to an official statement released by SETC, additional services will be introduced from other districts as per the demand.