Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple
The Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple is a well-known pilgrimage center and is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. The Sabarimala festival witness a huge number of devotees gathering in this shrine to experience the divinity.Sabarimala is a famous Hindu pilgrimage center dedicated to Lord Ayyappa. It is situated in hill ranges of Western Ghats, in the Periyar Tiger Reserve Area. This temple is surrounded by 18 hills and dense forest called as Poonkavanam. Sabarimala is one among the few temples which is open to people from all religion.There is a place near the temple; east to Sannidhanam, dedicated to the Vavar (a sufi and friend of Lord Ayyappa) which is called 'Vavarunada', an epitome of religious harmony.The pilgrimage season in Sabarimala actually begins in the month of November and ends in the month of January.Mandala pooja during Decemberand Makaravilakku during the month of January are the two main events of the pilgrim season.The temple stays closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of every Malayalam month and during Vishu (April). People who visit Sabarimala have to have to strictly observe certain customs. They have observe austerities for 41 days before attending the Mandalapooja. Pilgrims carry a bundle of cloth called as Irumudikettu having traditional offering to The Lord Ayyappan. Pilgrims have to trek through forests about 4 to 5 kms which is difficult after reaching Pamba river since after Pamba vehicles cannot go. Pamba is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. Males of all age groups can visit the temple. In case of females they can only visit the temple when they are young that is before attaining puberty or in their old age.