Sabarimala Trip and Visit to Kerala Divya Desams – 4

…..Continued from the previous post

From Aranmula we then reached Malayalappuzha Bhagavathi temple.

8. Malayalappuzha Bhagavathi Temple

Malayalapuzha Devi temple is situated 6 km east of Pathanamthitta town, the District Head Quarter. The Devi Temple is in the center of five hills namely Uppidampara mala, Pulipara mala, Cherukunnathu mala, Oottupara mala and Achakanna mala.


The temple is medium size with a majestic ‘Gopuram’ in the east. The inner sanctum is square shaped. In this temple the ‘Kaula’ Tantric method was followed earlier where animal sacrifices were done in olden days but now animal sacrifices are not performed.

The deity in this temple is an idol made up of many materials in a method called ‘Kadu Sarkara Yogam’ and of five and a half feet high. Several types of wood pieces several  Ayurvedic herbs, Milk, Ghee, Jaggery, Turmeric, Sandalwood, Camphor, Gold, Silver, Sand, Natural glue etc are only some of the ingredients used to make it.

Though Bhadra Kali Devi in her fierce state is consecrated in this temple, she is a loving mother to the ingenuous flock of devotees and only the cruel, wicked type people need to be scared about her. The visitors will feel devotion and also fear when entering the temple compound, but when entered inside of the ‘Nalambalam’  they will experience a wrapping feel of protection and a soothing mental peace so that they will love to stay for some more time enjoying that feel.

There is a ‘Siva Linga’ idol in the temple in open which is believed to be self-manifested. People believe that this Shiva linga keeps growing. A flower bearing ‘Konna’ tree provides shade to it all year round. Usually “Konna tree’ which is ‘Casia fistula’ or ‘Golden showering tree’ bears flowers for two months, March and April in Kerala.(This tree flower is Official flower of Kerala). In this temple the ‘Golden Showering tree’ flowers all through the year. If unction of breaking several tender coconuts are performed on this Shiva idol it will rain even in any hot summer is a belief. Cobra snakes are seen lying round that ‘Siva Linga’ idol mostly.

Other sub deities includes Baby Ganapathy in the lap of Parvathi devi getting breast milk from her, Murugan, Sastha, Yakshi, Nagam, Madaswamy etc.
Just before entry to the sanctum, there is a small idol of Veera Bhadra.


  • There are lot of prayers being done in the temple for various amounts and all are written in Malayalam inside the temple. So better know about all the prayers and the amount for each prayer before you go.
  • The popular belief is that the Goddess is noted for getting the unmarried girls married, protecting the devotees from enemies, helping businesses flourish, getting employment and in general extending prosperity to all the devotees.
  • To relieve the problems caused by enemies by black-majic or by any other evil methods, ‘Raktha Pushpanjali (floral worship using red color flowers)’ is performed.
  • The sweetened rice known as ‘Chathussatham’ is done by the devotees for getting prosperity.
  • For prophylactic purposes and for physical well being fowl bird is brought and set free in the temple compound is a ritual followed here.
  • There are several other offerings in the temple like ‘Thoniyari Payasam (Sweet rice made as per the traditional method by which several ingredients are used), Ney Vilakku (Lighting ghee lamp), Nirapara (Offering of giving rice, Paddy, sugar etc in a measuring vessel known as ‘para’ in full measures) etc.
  • Ladies offer Manjadi seeds (Adenanthera pavonina Linn.) to the Goddess for increase of breast milk. This same seed, after taking it round their hair is offered by ladies near the flag post for luxurious and thick hair growth.
  • There is another very peculiar belief in the temple. It is believed that the soul of the devotees of the Goddess, after death comes and stays in the temple. So their sons/daughters come to the temple along with a piece of sandalwood packed in a red silk, make the soul enter that and take it out. This is called Chavirakkal (removal of death)
  • People also worship the Brahma Rakshas which is on the east of the temple for getting rid of ghosts , devils and evil magic affecting them. Offering of Mangalya to the Goddess to get married quickly is also done.

The temple opens every day at 4 ‘o clock in the morning and closes at noon 12.30 PM and opens in the evening at 5 PM and closes at 8 PM.  The temple closure time in the afternoon depends on the crowd. When we went on a Friday the temple was kept open beyond 1PM.

Tuesdays and Fridays are more important than other days and there will be heavy rush on those days. Since we went on a Friday, there was a heavy rush and our pooja took a long time. We were there from 11:45 AM to 1:30 PM.

The following photos are from our earlier trip in 2009.


Left side praharam

Right side praharam

IMG_7033 IMG_7035 IMG_7032

Then came the miraculous and the last part of our trip – Pamba and Sabarimala.

9.Pamba and Sabarimala

About 20 kms before Pamba, we got the news from Chennai that the shutters of the Pamba dam had been released due to heavy rain and the river was heavily flooded. So the foot over bridge was closed and people were stranded on either side for many hours. There had been an incessant rain for the past 4 months in this region. Then only we realised that there was no vehicle movement in the opposite direction. We all were very sad and went into silent mood in a state of shock expecting that we are going to return empty handed without the dharshan of the Lord. In about 5-10 minutes we then saw a heavy rush of speeding vehicles in the opposite direction signalling that the bridge had just been opened. On reaching Pamba, we found that the bridge which was closed for many hours had just been opened. People were allowed through the bridge in one way and that too in a single row. Due to this restriction and the heavy crowd, it took us more than 45 minutes to just cross the bridge in a state of panic, commotion and rain. Once crossed, there was no problem since most part of the uphill from Pamba to Sabari is having roof now.

Normall, people take bath in the river and then start the climbing but no one was allowed this time. I didn’t take the photos while going and the photos are from the earlier trip (without any flood).

Pamba river:

Pamba River 4

Pamba River 7

Pamba River 6

Pamba River 2 Pamba River 5 Pamba River 1 Pamba River 3

Pamba Ganapathy Temple from where the trekking starts:

Place where Lord Ayyappa was found as a baby 1 Place where Lord Ayyappa was found as a baby 2 View from Pamba Ganapathy 2 View from Pamba Ganapathy 1 Pamba Ganapathy 2 Pamba Ganapathy 1

Pamba Ganapathy 3

The resting place at Pamba Ganapathy:

Resting place at Pamba Ganapathy

The complete photo set of Pamba is here

Hill climbing:

The photos are from earlier visit. Most part of the hill climbing route has now been covered with roof. While it definitely protects the devotees from rain, the aesthetic beauty of this route has completely been destroyed. In fact the route now looks very ugly!

Start of Hill Climbing 2 Start of Hill Climbing 1 IMG_7153 IMG_7151 IMG_7142 IMG_7137 IMG_7058 IMG_7062 IMG_7060 IMG_7059 IMG_7064 IMG_7063 IMG_7071




Sabari peetam and Saramkothi:

Sabari Peetam 1 Sabari Peetam 2

Hill top:

IMG_7129 IMG_7126

The complete photo set of Sabarimala Hill Climbing is here

End of Hill Climbing and the resting place:

Way to Resting place, End of Hill climbing Way to Resting place, End of Hill climbing End of the hill climbing, finally!! Resting hall just before the Sannidhanam

The Sannidhanam:

The Holy 18 steps, Karuppanna Swamy shrine on the right


Burning of Ghee coconut shells




Sannidhanam and around

IMG_7124 The Sannidhanam The Sannidhanam and around Coconut breaking on Exit Smoke due to burning of ghee coconut shells Burning of Ghee coconut shells Smoke due to burning of ghee coconut shells Burning of Ghee coconut shells Dwajasthambam

The complete photo set of the Sannidhanam with more photos is available here

We reached Sabarimala by around 6:45 PM and the sacred 18 steps were closed for “Padi pooja”. We waited in open under the intermittent rain  till the Padi pooja was over by about 7:45 PM. We climbed the 18 steps and had a very nice dharshan of the Lord.

The sacred 18 steps and the Swamy Ayyappan – this is what we were waiting for the 45 days with untiring and really very difficult (atleast for me!) vradham is for this one only!  What a feel which can’t be expressed in words especially when there was a situation that we might return empty handed without the Swamy’s dharshan…..

The Holy 18 steps Lord Ayyappa- 8-1024 x 768

There are some goods and bads in Sabarimala.

The biggest good point being that there is no VIP dharshan or ticketed dharshan. There are two queues one behind the other, one slow moving to see the Lord from the closest distance and the other queue fast moving to see the Lord just 2 feet away from the other queue. In the fast moving queue, whatever may be the crowd, one can have the dharshan of the Lord in a very reasonable time under the normal monthly pooja times.

The biggest negative being an unbelievable and undigestible fact of pigs roaming around even near the sacred 18 steps!! Now that the eateries have been moved far, I have not seen them around this time. I am not sure whether the administration has done anything for it or not.

We could get only dormitory accommodation at Akil Bharath Ayyappa Seva Sangam and went to sleep by 11 PM. The day was hectic and we were on our toes right from 5 AM to 11 PM. Since we were only 4, no time was wasted anywhere and luckily we didn’t wait for dharshan at any temple.

What an eventful day it was!

On return, there was a delicious annadhana of Pongal, Vada and Sambar at Pamba. After the tiring trip, the breakfast was so delicious and we whole heartedly wished the people behind the annadhana. One of my other members wanted to take a little rest but we insisted on crossing the river at the earliest and taking rest at the car.  We crossed the bridge at 9:17 AM as per the photo timing. On reaching the other end, we also took photos and the photo at 9:19 shows that the bridge was closed again, meaning it will be opened only after many hours, half a day or more – it means by the time we would have missed our train and would have been in shambles!


IMG_0174 IMG_0175 IMG_0178 IMG_0179 IMG_0180

Photos @ 9:25 / 9:26 – Starting to cross the bridge

IMG_0182 IMG_0185

Photo @ 9:26 – On the bridge, crossing..


At 9:27 – After crossing


Video @ 9:30 – after crossing the bridge. The bridge was closed and we can see people stranded at the other end!

We reached Changannur station by around 1:30 PM and took a nap at the waiting room since our train was only at 4:40 PM hearing the stories of a part of a big gang been stranded at Pamba and missing the train!

The travelogue series is concluded.


  1. Planning a trip to Thirukandiyur near tirur and thirunavya in kerala. Unable to get the phone no or temple timing of thirukandiyur temple. Please can you help?

  2. Swamiye Saranam.

    I am interested to visit the following temples Sori Muthu Ayyanar, Kulathupuzha Ayyappa, Aryankavu, AchanKovil and Erumeli before proceeding to Sabarimala.

    Can you please help with the following:
    1. What time does the Kulathupuzha Ayyappa temple open & close?
    Are women allowed to visit?

    2. What time does the AryanKavu Ayyappa temple open & close?
    Are women allowed to visit?

    3. What time does the Erumeli Dharma Sashta temple open & close?
    Are women allowed to visit?

    Thank you in advance.

    • I just now updated lots of information on Achankoil, Aryankavu and Kulathupuzha temples in the Thirunelveli-1 directory after my Sabarimala trip last month. Pls have a look at it. The Sorumuthu ayyanar temple has been covered in my Thirunelveli-1 directory as well as my Thirunelveli travelogues

  3. Dear sir words can never express my sincere gratitude I can only pray to god for you and your family

  4. Recently, april 2014 visited chengannur, kottayam and ambulapulza temples which leads our life in a meaningful way and it is a gift from & by the contribution of kerala people to us thro their way of – worship – their system from younger to older one’s & with family – without much gossip or noice,- slience – all are made us more attraction towards bhakthi, for maintaining inside temple discipline also and such a culture should be preserved for years to come and it should not be spoiled by the people who are talking gossip and family matters there. i AM a regular visitor of kerala temples at different directions for the past 10 years and yet to complete some more.

  5. Very energising to read about your recent trip, since I myself am going next month, Ayyappa willing. Your unique service to all is really praise-worthy and it has rekindled many’s interest in temple visits. God bless you, Sir.

  6. Really awesome. Thank you very much Sir. I had been to Sabarimala only once in the month of July observing all the procedures. The trip was a blessing one and I was permitted to sit in the Sannadhi for nearly 35 to 45 minutes and see the entire Abhishegam. I did Angapradakshinam too in the drizzling rain around 6.30 pm after reaching the Sannidhanam. My Guruji was mentioning to me that it was a bonanza. I am interested to visit once again along with my wife.

    Balasubramanian NR

  7. wonderful wonderful wonderful
    now i will go to these places when i go to sabarimalai next year – of course with god blessings
    keep the travel on and on and let me join u sometime on your travels
    nanda kumar

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