Thursday, 7 July 2011

Sites of Saberimalai

Coconut Aazhi (Homa kundam)

There is a Homakundam (coconut aazhi) close to the main shrine in front of the pathinettampadi. A Homakundam is erected toward north-east of the holy 18 steps. After removing ghee for Neyyabhishakam the pilgrims throw the remaining coconuts into this sacred fireplace. It is interesting to note that the vast Homakundam burns throughout the Mandala and Makaravilakku season. The coconut in which the ghee is brought for Abhishekam, is thrown into the homakundam. Since lakhs of devotees arrive here during the season, the homakundam will be burning continuously. The fire and the smoke arising from it purifies the atmosphere, destroying disease-causing germs, besides being an offering to Lord Ayyappa.

Urakkuzhi Theertham

The next place consecreated for holy bath is Kumbalam Thodu with Urakuzhi Theertham in it. This holy canal is about one km North of Malikapuram. This place is believed to be the most sacred place where Dharmasastha revealed himself in his Viswaroopa. Here there is a waterfall and a small creek in to which the water drains. This creek is named Urakuzhi. It seems to be a small hole. But when one sits in its bosom, it appears to be spacious enough to give a cool dip. It is believed that a bath in the Urakuzhi theertham washes off all the sins.



One sacred place for bath at Sabarimala is Bhasmakulam. This is on the western side of the Sannidhanam. Pilgrims get purified by their dip in the holy water here. Legend says that Sabari entered the fire in the presence of Sri Rama and as a result her mortal remains were consumed. This pond has its name derived from this legend. The water in the pond is ever kept fresh and clean in spite of the constant use by pilgrims. Using oil and soap here are prohibited.


For those pilgrims who do not wish to take back the ghee they bring inside the coconut, there is a container called Neythoni(Ghee Canoe) into which they can pour out the ghee. It is placed near the Sreekovil. No payment is required for depositing the ghee in the Neythoni.


Malikappurathamma is also known as Manjamatha. In importance She is next to Ayyappaswamy. The Manjamatha kovil is situated on the northwestern side of the main Sree Kovil. It is connected to Sannidhanam by an attractive fly over. The temple of Malikapuram faces east, while the Kochukadutha Swamy shrine faces west. The Nagadevas are there in the premises of Malikappuram Temple, whereas the abode of the Navagrahas on its north western side.

The 18 Steps

The Holy eighteen steps that lead to the shrine have been figuratively called Ponnu Pathinettampadi. ''Ponnu'' as an epithet denotes the holy touch of the Lord's feet. But now the epithet ''Ponnu'' has become literally true because the steps have been covered with gold coloured Panchaloham. Only those who observe 41 days penance and carry ''Irumudi Kettu'' can climb these divine steps.Climbing the 18 steps from the foot of the temple to reach the sanctum sanctorum for holy darshan is considered an important privilege of every devotee. The Pathinettampadi (18 steps) represents the eighteen stages one has to pass through to attain ''Moksha'' (salvation).Among the 'Kshethrasankalpas' in the world, the most important is the concept of Ayyappa and the eighteen steps. It is believed to be the great gift of the Almighty. Sabarimala is surrounded by 18 mountains which are thickly forested.In the Hindu Dharma 18 has a great spiritual significance. Here 1 is 'Paramatma' and 8 is 'Jeevatma', thus 18 is the number for the realization of God. In the Mahabharatha and Bhagavad Geetha, there are 18 chapters. Likewise there are 18 Puranas also that reveal the 'Reality'. The 18 mountains around Sannidhanam, and the 18 steps to reach the abode of the Lord also reveal the 'Reality'.

Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Sannidhanam


Sannidhanam is the area where the Ayyappa temple is situated. At Sannidhanam, devotees climb up the holy 18 steps to reach the Sanctum sanctorum. Arrangements are made for the devotees to crack coconuts on the right side of the steps. Now cracking of coconuts on the 18 steps is prohibited for safety reasons.The Malikappuram temple complex, sub temple of Vavar, Neyyabhishekam counters, prasadam counters, information centres, telephone and post office facility etc. are visible in and around Sannidhanam.

Pathinettapadi (18 divine steps)

Pathinettapadi (18 divine steps) to the sanctum sanctorium is divine in all aspects. The first three steps depict "Bhoomi, Agni, Vayoo & Akash", 6 to 9 steps for Karmendriya, 10 to 15 for Jhanandriya, 16th for mind 17th Intelligence and 18th Jeevathma Bhava. Those who cross all these steps are believed to achieve "Punyadarshan". The steep steps are so important and holy that no one can climb them without fasting for 41 days and carrying the holy irrumudi on ones' head.There are many mythological stories associated with the holy Patinettampadi. Some believe the eighteen steps denote the 18 puranas. Some say that 18 weapons with which Lord Ayyappa destroyed the evil denotes the 18 steps. Others are of the belief that the first five steps denotes the indriyas (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin). The next eight steps signifies the ragas (tatwa, kama, krodha, moha, lobha, madha, matsraya, and ahamkara. The next three steps signifies the gunas (satwa, rajas and thamas). The seventeenth and the eighteenth denotes vidhya and ignorance.The Patinettampadi can be used only twice - once for ascending the temple and once for descending below leaving the hill. Before ascending or descending the steps, pilgrims break coconut as an offering to the steps. One needs to have the sacre Irumudi on head while going up or down the 18 steps. While descending the steps the devotees climb down backwards facing the sanctum sanctorum.One who climbs the Patinettampadi for 18 times shall plant a sapling of coconut in Sabarimala. Built on a plateau about 40 feet high, the Ayyappan temple commands a lofty view of the mountains and valleys all around. The ancient temple has been rebuilt after a fire in 1950. Within the confines of the sanctum sanctorium with a copper-plated roof and four golden finials at the top, two mandapams, the belikalpura which houses the altar, the flag-staff replacing the earlier stone image of the deity, sits a beautiful idol of Ayyappa in panchaloha, an alloy of five metals, about one and a half feet tall.

108 Sharana Ghosham
108 Sharana Ghosham

Say 'Saranam Ayyappa' after saying each line.

1. Swamiyae
2. Harihara sutane
3. Kannimoola ganapati bhagavaanae
4. Shakti vadivelan sodaranae
5. Maalikappurattu manjammadevi lokamathavae
6. Vaavar Swamiyae
7. Karuppanna Swamiyae
8. Periya kadutta Swamiyae
9. Siriya kadutta Swamiyae
10. Vanadevata maarae
11. Durga bhagavati maarae
12. Achchan kovil arasae
13. Anaatha rakshakanae

14. Anna dhana prabhuvae
15. Achcham tavirpavanae
16. Ambalathu arasanae
17. Abhaya daayakanae
18. Ahandai azhippavanae
19. Ashtasiddhi daayakanae
20. Andinorai aadarikkum deivamae
21. Azhutayil vaasanae
22. Aaryangaavu Ayyaavae
23. Aapad baandhavanae
24. Ananda jyotiyae
25. Aatma swaroopiyae
26. Aanaimukhan thambiyae
27. lrumudi priyanae
28. lnnalai teerppavanae
29. ega para suka daayakanae
30. idaya kamala vaasanae
31. Eedillaa inbam alippavanae
32. Umaiyaval baalakanae
33. Oomaikku arul purindavanae
34. Oozhvinai akatruvonae
35. Ookkam alippavanae
36. Engum niraindoenae
37. Enillaa roopanae
38. En kula deivamae
39. En guru naathanae
40. Erumeli vaazhum kraada -shaastaavae
41. Engum nirainda naada brahmamae
42. Ellorkkum arul puribavanae
43. Aetrumaanoorappan maganae
44. Aekaantha vaasiyae
45. Aezhaikkarul puriyum eesanae
46. Aindumalai vaasanae
47. Aiyyangal teerppavanae
48. Opillaa maanikkamae
49. Omkaara parabramamae
50. Kaliyuga varadanae
51. Kan.kanda deivamae
52. Kambankudiku udaiya naathanae
53. Karunaa samudramae
54. Karpoora jyotiyae
55. Sabari giri vaasanae
56. Shatru samhaara moortiyae
57. Sharanaagata rakshakanae
58. Sharana ghosha priyanae
59. Shabarikku arul purindavanae
60. Shambhukumaaranae
61. Satya swaroopanae
62. Sankatam teerppavanae
63. Sanchalam azhippavanae
64. Shanmukha sodaranae
65. Dhanvantari moortiyae
66. Nambinorai kaakkum deivamae
67. Narttana priyanae
68. Pantala raajakumaaranae
69. Pambai baalakanae
70. Parasuraama poojithanae
71. Bhakta jana rakshakanae
72. Bhakta vatsalanae
73. Paramashivan puthiranae
74. Pambaa vaasanae
75. Parama dayaalanae
76. Manikanda porulae
77. Makara jyotiyae
78. Vaikkathu appan makanae
79. Kaanaka vaasanae
80. Kulattu puzhai baalakanae
81. Guruvaayoorappan makanae
82. Kaivalya pada daayakanae
83. Jaati mata bhedam illathavanae
84. Shivashakti Aikya svaroopanae
85. Sevippavarku aananda moorthiyae
86. Dushtar bhayam neekkubavanae
87. Devaadi devanae
88. Devargal tuyaram teerppavanae
89. Devendra poojitanae
90. Naaraayananmynthanae
91. Neiabhisheka priyanae
92. Pranava svaroopanae
93. Paapa samhaara moortiyae
94. Paayaasanna priyanae
95. Vanpuli vaagananae
96. Varapradaayaganae
97. Bhaagavatottamanae
98. Ponambala vaasanae
99. Mohini sutane
100. Mohana roopanae
101. Villan villaali veeranae
102. Veeramani kantanae
103. Sadguru nathanae
104. Sarva rokanivaarakanae
105. Sachithananda sorupiyae
106. Sarvaabheestha thayakanae
107. Saasvatapadam alippavanae
108. Patinettaam padikkutaiyanaadhane

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa

Om Adiyen terindum teriyaamalum seidasakala Kutrangalaiyum poruttu kaattu rakshittuarula vendum, Shree satyamaana ponnupatinettaam padimel vaazhum om ShreeHarihara sutan kaliyugavaradan aanandachittan ayyan Ayyappa Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa

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