Sree Ayyappa Temple is one of the most ancient Sastha temples in the country. Located in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, Sabarimala Sri Ayappa Temple is one of the few Hindu temples in India that is open to all faiths. The shrine of Sabarimala is one of the most remote shrines in southern India yet it still draws three to four million pilgrims each year. Surrounded by mountains and dense forest Sabarimala is believed to be the place where Ayyappan meditated. Perhaps the best known pilgrimage destination in Kerala is Sabarimala. Sabarimala Sri Dharmasastha Temple is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha Temples. It is believed that "Parasurama Maharshi" who retrieved Kerala from the sea by throwing his axe, installed the idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala to worship Lord Ayyappa.

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The temple attracts pilgrims not only from the southern states of India, but also from other parts of the country and abroad. Mandala pooja and Makaravilakku 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).

Certain customs are to be strictly observed if one has to undertake a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. A pilgrim attending the Mandalapooja should observe austerities for 41 days. During this period, the pilgrim should abstain himself from non vegetarian food and carnal pleasures. Pilgrims set out in groups under a leader, and each carry a cloth bundle called Irumudi kettu containing traditional offerings.

Unlike certain Hindu temples, Sabarimala temple has no restrictions of caste or creed. The temple is open to males of all age groups and to women who have either passed their fertility age and those before reaching the stage of puberty. The easiest route is via Chalakkayam, by which one can reach the banks of the river Pamba by vehicle. Pamba is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. From here one has to trek 4 to 5 kms to reach the temple.

Festivals in Sabarimala

The pilgrimage season in Sabarimala is also called Mandalam Festival (Mandalakalam). During this period, millions of Ayyappa aspirants converge on the tiny temple complex from all over India. Also the temple is open for brief spells during certain Malayali festivals like Onam and Vishu. All through the year, monthly poojas are offered at Sabarimala, usually during the first of week of every Malayalam month (which actually falls in the middle of each English month); the shrine is open for the first five days of every month.

Girls who have not yet attained puberty and elderly women who have reached menopause are allowed entry into the temple. Men are expected to walk barefoot, sleep on the floor with their hair and nails uncut and refrain from self-indulgence during their 41-day vritham and journey to Sabarimala.

  • Sabarimala Makarajyothi
  • Sabarimala Meenam Festival
  • Sabarimala Vishhu Festival
  • Sabarimala Tanka Anki Festival
  • Sabarimala Erumeli etta thullal
  • Sabarimala Pratishta dinam
  • Sabarimala Onam Festival
  • Sabarimala Niraputhuri
  • Sabarimala Paikunni Arattu
  • Sabarimala Chithira Atta Thirunnal
  • Sabarimala Thuruvabharanam Charthal
  • Sabarimala Mandalam Festival

Makara Vilakku in Sabarimala

The most important festival at the Ayyapppa temple on Sabarimala is Makara Vilakku. It is a seven-day festival, beginning on the day of Makara Sankranthi, the day when the sun is in summer solstice. According to legend, the idol of Dharma Shastha was enshrined in the temple on this day. The annual festivities of Makara Vilakku commemorate this sacred event.

The jewellery to adorn the idol during the celebrations is brought from Pandalam Palace in a ceremonial procession that starts from Valiya Koyikkal Sastha Temple at Pandalam, three days prior to Makara Sankranthi. The boxes containing the sacred jewels are borne by an oracle; the procession reaches Sabaripeettam in the evening on Makara Sankranthi and is led to the Sannidhanam to the accompaniment of lights and music.

Incidentally, a kite appears in the sky at this very moment and hovers around the boxes, as if to safeguard the precious cache comprising a diamond diadem, gold bracelets and necklaces embedded with precious gems, Lord’s swords, silver arrows and images of elephant, horse and leopard fashioned out of gold.

Another highlight of this festival is the appearance of Makarajyothi that leaves an indelible impression on the millions who view it. The poojas and rituals associated with Makara Vilakku are performed on the Manimandapam (sacred platform) adjacent to the Devi’s shrine. A picture depicting Lord Ayyappan on the back of a tiger is placed on the podium.

Afterwards, Malikappurathamma is mounted on an elephant’s back and taken in a procession of torch bearers, drummers and buglers to Pathinettampadi (18 holy steps). The procession stops abruptly as the Vettavili (call for hunting) is given out and returns, circumambulating the main temple. Makara Vilakku ends with the ritual called ‘Guruthi’, offering made to appease the god and goddesses of the wilderness. None remains within the temple and its precincts after the ‘Guruthi’.

Other important festivals celebrated at the temple include Onam, Mandalapooja and Vishu Vilakku.

Opening and closing of Sabarimala Sree Dharmasastha Temple for the year 2015 - 2016

Month Pooja Opening Date Closing Date
Jan 2015 Makaravilakku Day 14/01/2015
Feb 2015 Monthly Pooja – Kumbham 12/02/2015 17/02/2015
Mar 2015 Monthly Pooja – Meenam 14/03/2015 19/03/2015
Sabarimala Utsavam 24/03/2015 03/04/2015
Kodiyettu 25/3/2015
April 2015 Painkuni Uthram (Ayyappan Nakshatra Birth Date) & Arattu 03/04/2015
Meda Vishu Festival 10/04/2015 19/04/2015
Medavishu 15/04/2015
May 2015 Monthly Pooja – Edavam 14/05/2015 19/05/2015
Idol Installation Day 28/05/2015 29/05/2015
June 2015 Monthly Pooja – Midhunam 15/06/2015 20/06/2015
July 2015 Monthly Pooja – Karkkidakam 16/07/2015 21/07/2015
Aug 2015 Monthly Pooja – Chingam 16/08/2015 21/08/2015
Sep 2015 Monthly Pooja – Kanni 16/09/2015 21/09/2015
Oct 2015 Monthly Pooja – Thulam 17/10/2015 22/10/2015
Nov 2015 Sree Chithra Atta Thirunal 09/11/2015 10/11/2015
Madala Pooja Maholsavam 16/11/2015 27/12/2015
Dec 2015 Mandala Pooja 27/12/2015
Thirunada opens for Makaravilakku 30/12/2015 20/01/2016
Jan 2016 Makaravilakku Day 15/01/2016 10-11-2015


Sl. No. Name Of the Festival Opening Time (5.30 PM) Closing Time (10.00 PM)
1. Mandala Pooja Maholsavam Festival Days 16-11-2014 27-12-2014
2. Mandala Pooja Maholsavam Day 27-12-2014
3. Makara Vilaku Festival Days 30-12-2014 20-01-2015
4. Makara Vilaku Day 14-01-2015
5. Monthly Pooja (Kumbham) 12-02-2014 17-02-2015
6. Monthly Pooja (Meenam) 14-03-2015 19-03-2015
7. Ulsavam Festival Days 24-03-2015 03-04-2015
8. Kodiyettu Day 25-03-2015
9. Pankuni Uthram & Aarattu Day 03-04-2015
10. Meda Vishu Festival Days 10-04-2015 19-04-2015
11. Meda Vishu Days 15-04-2015
12. Monthly Pooja (Edavam) 14-05-2015 19-05-2015
13. Idol Installation Day Festival Days 28-05-2015 29-05-2015
14. Idol Installation Day 29-05-2015
15. Monthly Pooja (Midhunam) 15-06-2015 20-06-2015
16. Monthly Pooja (Karkkidakam) 16-07-2015 21-07-2015
17. 'NIRAPUTHARI' the exact date will be announced to public between month July/August 15 by SREE PADMANABHASWAMI TEMPLE, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
18. Monthly Pooja (Chingam) 16-08-2015 21-08-2015
19. Onam Festival Days 26-08-2015 30-08-2015
20. Thiruvonam Day 28-08-2015
21. Monthly Pooja (Kanni) 16-09-2015 21-09-2015
22. Monthly Pooja (Thulam) 17-10-2015 22-10-2015
23. Sree Chithirai Aattathirunaal Festival Days 09-11-2015 10-11-2015
24. Sree Chithirai Aattathirunaal Days 10-11-2015
25. Mandala Pooja Maholsavam Festival Days 16-11-2015 27-12-2015
26. Mandala Pooja Maholsavam Day 27-12-2015
27. Thirunada Opens For Makara Vilaku Festival 30-12-2015
28. Next Makara Vilaku Day 15-01-2016

Please Note : Sabarimala temple usually opens at and closes at 11.00pm. During the peak seasons like Makara Vilakku Maholsavam, the timings might altered to accomodates the large number of devotees.

Instruction to Pilgrims

Do's at Sabarimala

  • Take rest for 5 minutes after a walk of 10 minutes during the climb.Use the traditional path – Marakoottam, Saramkuthy, Nadapanthal – to reach sabarimala Sannidhanam.
  • Follow the queue system to reachs abrimala Pathinettampadi.
  • Use the Nadapanthal fly over for return journey from sabarimala sannidhanam.
  • Ascertain the prevailing crowd situation and then only proceed to sabarimala Sannidhanam from Pampa.
  • While using Dolly, make payment only at the sabarimala Devaswom counter and keep the receipt.
  • Subject yourself for security check at security check points in way to sabarimala sannidhanam.
  • Approach police for any help in sabarimala.
  • Inform police about any suspicious characters found in sabarimala.
  • In sabarimala buy edible items from licensed outlets only.
  • Keep Pampa, Sannidhanam ,sabarimalaand the trekking paths clean.
  • Park vehicles only at the allotted parkig slots in sabarimala.
  • Deposit waste in the waste boxes placed in sabarimala.
  • Avail the facilities of medical centers and oxygen parlours in sabarimala and pamba if needed.
  • In case of isolation from groups /friends devotees may report at police aid posts at sabrimala.
  • Cleanliness- Throw waste only in collection bins. Keep thesabarimala temple premises and trekking paths clean.
  • Fire –Keep matchbox & other inflammable materials away from childrens coming to sabarimala.
  • Fire-if lighted should be put out immediately after use;in sabarimala and it premises
  • Remove plugs from sockets after use at sabarimala.
  • Follow queue system- Do not jump queue segment- do not rush in queue\Approach police for help in sabarimala.
  • Security check- cooperate with staff of sabarimala officials.
  • Use only toilets for urination/bowel clearance in sabarimala and its premises.
  • ID cards with name/address/telephone number to be hung on the necks of children/aged and Malikappurams-report to police when lost in the crowd at sabarimala.
  • Return journey-from Malilikappuram Temple, use ‘Sarana Sethu’, the next exit way leading to Chandranandan Road from sabarimala sannidhanam.

Dont's at Sabarimala

  • Do not use mobile phones at the sabarimala temple premises.
  • Do not consume alcohol or sabarimala.
  • Do not jump the sabarimala.
  • Do not rush while in the sabarimala.
  • Do not carry weapons or other explosives sabarimala.
  • Do not entertain unauthorized sabarimala.
  • Do not urinate outside toilets and clear bowels outside sabarimala.
  • Do not make extra payment for any service in sabarimala.
  • Do not hesitate to approach police for any help in sabarimala.
  • Do not throw waste anywhere other than the waste bins in sabarimala.
  • Do not break coconuts on the Pathinetampadiin sabarimala.
  • Do not break coconuts anywhere other than on designated places on both sides of Pathinettampadi in sabarimala.
  • Do not kneel at Pathinetampadi while climbing the holy steps at sabarimala tempel.
  • Do not use any path other than Nadapanthal flyover for return journey from sabarimala.
  • Do not rest anywhere at Upper Thirumuttam or Thanthrinada in sabarimala.
  • Do not use pathways for viris at Nadapanthal and lower Thirumuttam in sabarimala.
  • Do not bring plastic carry bags to sabarimala beyond Nilakkal.
  • Fire - do not cause forest fire – do not throw burned wood/camphor/incandescent sticks etc carelessly in sabarimala.
  • Fire - do not carry inflammable liquids, fire crackers.Cooking gas, stoves etc are not be used in sabarimala Sannidhanam area.
  • Fire - electrical appliances are potential source of fire – do not overload by putting multiple connections in sabarimala.
  • Fire - burnt matches - do not throw carelessly in sabarimala.
  • Fire - do not cook food inside ‘viri’ sheds in sabarimala.
  • Fire - do not light camphor in temporary sheds in sabarimala.
  • Do not carry knives and other sharp weapons to sabarimala.
  • Do not operate electrical equipments with wet hands in sabarimala.
  • Trekking - do not climb hurriedly to sabarimala.
  • Do not smoke in Pampa, Sannidhanam and along the trekking routes to sabarimala.
  • Makara Jyothi Darshan - do not climb trees and on unsafe buildings in sabarimala.
  • Begging - prohibited in sabarimala - do not encourage.
  • Do not rest anywhere at Upper Thirumuttom in sabarimala.


The multistoried pilgrim complex is located adjacent to Nadapanthal. There are a few pilgrim shed on the northern side of Pandythavalam and beyond Pandythavalam. Beyond this area a series of public latrines are provided. There is a Government hospital and Ayurvedic Hospital functioning during festival seasons on the south eastern side near the Nadapanthal. Near Malikappuram temple complex there is a dispensary run by NSS. Near the Donor Complex there is a telephone exchange and public hall office with STD facilities.

Sl. No. Guest House Phone
1. PALAZHI (DH I) 04735-202049
2. SOPANAM (DH II) 04735-202049
3. MANIKANTAN (DH III) 04735-202049
4. CHINMUDRA (DH IV) 04735-202049
5. SIVASAKTHI (DH V) 04735-202049
6. TEJASWINI (DH VI) 04735-202049
7. SREEMATHA (DH VII) 04735-202049
8. PRANAVAM (PC I) 04735-202049
9. SAHYADRI (PC II) 04735-202049
10. KAILAS (PC III) 04735-202049
11. GKD Hall 04735-202049
12. Poorna, Pushkala Hall 04735-202049
13. Sabari Guest House
2 bed
3 bed
4 bed
14. Forest IB Sabarimala 04735-202074 / 75
15. Forest Dormitory 04735-202074 / 75

Note: The information provided on this site is to the best of our knowledge and may not be the latest and accurate information. We try to collect and post updated information regularly.