Unknown Facts About Sabarimala Temple

Dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, the Sabarimala temple is located in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. One of the most popular pilgrim sites and thronged by a huge inflow of devotees from all over the world, this centuries old temple boasts a lot of interesting facts including the following, which you might not know.

The Lord killed the demoness Mahishi in this place

Mythology says this place is where the Lord killed the demoness Mahishi. Incarnating from the powers of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, Ayyappa killed the demoness Mahishi at this place. Mahishi was the sister of Mahishasura, the demon who was earlier killed by goddess Durga.


Number 18 is the highlight of this temple

There are 18 steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. These 18 gold plated steps of Sabarimala have a deep religious and spiritual significance. Also, Sabarimala is located amidst 18 hills of mesmerizing natural beauty that are found clad with green vegetation.

Austere life for 41 days


The devotees of Lord Ayyappa observe a strict kind of austere life for 41 days before visiting the temple. The main aspects of life during this period include celibacy, vegetarian diet, avoiding the cutting of nails and hair and sleeping on the floor without comforts. It is said that this practice exists for more than 1,500 years. The preparatory phase to visit the temple also has a strict dress code that requires the devotees to wear black or blue or saffron colored dresses. The devotees wear some garlands made of Tulsi plant beads in their necks and Vibhuti and sandal paste on their foreheads.

Connections with Islam

Sabarimala has strong connections with Islam as there is a temple dedicated to Vavar, a Muslim Sufi saint. Though the exact history of Vavar is not known to us, mythology says he assisted the local prince who came in search of the Sabarimala temple a few hundred years back. There is a mosque dedicated to Vavar in the vicinity of the temple.


The temple has an official song

Every day before the closing of the temple, a melodious song that has 108 words set in 8 stanzas is recited in front of the main deity. This song was composed by Srinivasa Iyer who sang this song in front of Ayyappa for many years.

The name of this place has its roots in the Ramayana


During the times of Ramayana, there lived an ascetic woman named Sabari in this region. She was doing a strict penance for several years only to see Lord Sriram. Finally Ram visited her and accepted her humble offerings. The hill got the name Sabarimala after this historical character.

Holy bath with ghee is highly auspicious to the main deity

The holy bath given to the main deity is called as Neiyyabhishekam. This is done with the ghee carried to the temple by the devotees who observe fasting and use emptied coconut shell to carry the ghee to the temple bundled in the same color cloth that the devotees wear during the 41 days austerity period before visiting the temple.