Holy trip to Guruvayur, Chottanikara, Ayyappa Sabarimala - Part 2

Holy trek (with bare foot) -Sabarimala pilgrimage

Day 3(Saturday) - 20/12/2008 Cont...
After having darshan in three big Sivalayams we started journey to “Erumeli”. We reached erumeli around at 11:00 AM. The Sabarimala temple is in “Pathanamthitta” district of Kerala. Once we reached Erumeli our big vehicle is parked some where near the temple and by walk we reached Sri Darma Sasta temple. Our guru swami’s team spent some time to arrange colors and decorative to dress us like a tribal. Once all of us (Specially we are 18 kanni swamis) painted each other in colors holding tree stems to resemble tribal followed the Guide and Guru swami, dancing to the wild drum beats music and singing the song “Swami Thintana thom tom ..ayyappa tintana tom tom ..”. This kind of procession is called is “Pettai thullai” which we continued till “Vavar’s mosque” who is considered to be the friend of Lord Ayyappa swami according to legends. (In the very close proximity of Sree darma sastha temple this mosque is situated).

This is simple but most appealing ritual of the whole practice of this pilgrimage.

After praying to sree darma sastha and Vavar, we have taken bath in “Ajudha” river and then reached “Pettai Sastha” temple. After refueling ourselves with “Appam” and nice lemon water we proceeded to our lunch point where already required arrangements for Lunch were made by our Travel people. It was as usual and expected typical kerala style meals. I like the water served in the whole journey covered in kerala.

It looks light pink/red in color, with so many medicine values. After my inquiry with other pilgrims, I came to know that the water was totally medicated and safe as they boil the water by mixing special roots of some trees and other important healing contents like jeera and red pepper etc.

Then after quick lunch our bus started from Eerumeli to Pampa River.There are two ways to have this pilgrimage – one is called “Peda paadam” (This trek by Devotees will start their yatra either from Erumeli to Sabarimala (48 miles) by climbing hills (dense forest) on foot). The other way is reaching pampa by any source like bus and from Pampa to Sabarimala (7 kms) by foot.We preferred second one which is from Erumeli, reaching Pampa by bus and from Pampa to Sabarimala by foot which was almost effortless compared to “Peda paadam”.

Our bus started from Erumeli around at 1:15 PM to Pampa. With refueled bodies our souls encouraged to do Swami ayyppa chanting with more energy. Due to hill route bus was crawling all the way in bends with ups and downs while we were continuously singing all swami songs. All the way I was just dreaming about the river pampa as this is first time I am going to take bath in this. My dreams were inferring me that taking bath in the pleasant and beautiful Pampa River would wipe away all my sins and sick feelings. This rejuvenation I get with this bath will be incomparable with anything.

We reached Pampa around 2:30 PM, quickly entered in the pre-announced hotel during the travel. With the help of guru swami we kept all our “irumudis” in one clean place in that hotel and went to Pampa River to take bath. But when I saw the river I was totally stunned it was far away from my expectations with totally mud filled water and unpleasant environment with left clothes and mudra maalas. I was totally disappointed and afraid even to take bath in that. I just prayed swami ayyappa and had just three deep dips in the river and came out of it. Trying to forget that bath I dressed in Black lungi and towel to start the bare foot trek to sabarimala with a side bag on shoulders and “Irumudi” on head. With a loud “Saranu gosha” Guru Swami kept respective “Irumudis” on our heads and started our trek holding a coconut in one hand which was taken from side bag around at 3:30 PM. The first stop was at “Pampa ganapthi” temple, there we broken our coconuts in a single attempt and eagerly proceeded with enough energy. The onset of treck is energetic and full josh, as all our motto is to see the splendid God as early as possible. I was ready with arrow (decorated by guru swami while doing “Pettai thulli") in one hand by supporting other hand on “Irumudi” which was on my head.“
Before we started, the experienced elders had warned us not to take rest in between the steep climb because then We would have tough time and greater inertia to resume the climb.

I felt like this was an easy trek to finish compared to my old treks - If I am not bare foot. As some of the swamis are slow in their ascent I felt forming special group to proceed with all young and enthusiastic swamis and I did the same. With some guide lines from Guru Swami we moved further with greater ascent.

We have we visited “Sareankuthi ali”(It’s a tree) where we(Kanni swamis) dropped our arrows as told by Guru Swaami. During sojourns we had lime sodas and pineapple slices just to refuel ourselves. I was totally surprised by the services offered by temple authorities like serving medicated hot water all the way to temple in queues as well. They made all medical requirements accessible for pilgrims especially Oxygen cylinders like things will surely help pilgrims when facing any breathing problems. Due to genetic changes in the present generation many people including young also facing respiratory related problems in the hill regions like this. So the medical arrangements were really helping the pilgrims. And keeping the recent mayhem in Mumbai in mind government has arranged enough security forces in action. There were minimal delays in queuing pilgrims for darshan. With minimum sojourns we were able to reach main temple around at 7:30 PM.

We were just before “Padunettambadi” we have to break another coconut just beside “Padunettambadi” before climbing it and the same we did. Then the next is our most awaiting moment after a long waiting and painful trek we are just few seconds away from the “Padunettambadi” (The very famous 18 golden steps). There was huge crowd being diverted by police to main path of the temple after crossing these golden steps. It was the most memorable moments in life and it was the most awaiting minutes every body are eagerly waiting for touching all 18 steps, but we were fully disturbed and pulled drastically by them to cross with in seconds. The steps were built so steep and we don’t even think of any thing while climbing them. I saw people who were dying to touch all the 18 steps to pious their devotion and to get rid of their sins to attain virtuous state in their life.

I was able refresh my whole senses, it was a BIG refresh to my soul, I forgot the whole world around me and it’s a great rejoice and rejuvenation to my whole soul. I can’t express this feeling just in words. One should feel this. I thank the all mighty God Sri Ayyappa Swaami.

Then it was our way to main temple after crossing 18 steps, as told early by one of my friend the main temple was very small including idol. I felt like Ayyappa is in manikanta roopam in that place.

Ayappa was looking articulate and too charismatic and piercing. When I looked straight into ayppa eyes, he seemed to touch my soul with his striking gaze. It was heartfelt feeling of my soul. I can’t forget this for my life. My longing was pleased.

Then after unbelievable experience along with my mates we moved to pre-announced place to assemble. There with help of guru swami our “Irumudi” were opened and all the pooja related things were collected separately and grouped. Once all this process is done each one of us given one like Ghee collected from the filled coconuts and Rose water etc. Carrying those we have been to “Maaliga purathama” temple and there by rolling one coconut round the temple ledt it there at oen corner. And poured all the “pasupu” and “Kunkuma” in other devi temples as well as “Nagendra” temples. We sprinkled the rose water on all pilgrims on the way to “Karpoora Aazhi”. There in “Azhi” we added our coconuts too and broken another coconut near one side of “Padunettambadi”. Then returned back to our assembly point and proceeded to dinner and had light food.We quickly reached our bed to wake up very early in the morning. But some of our group mates attended the “Harivarasanam”.

Day 4(Sunday) - 21/12/2008

In the early morning after having fresh up some of us went to one more darshan and then started our descent around at 5:30 AM. The faint light through the lush green forest was the best scenes of our descent towards Pampa. It was very hard to control the speed of descend and we had to overwork our leg muscles. At one point I really felt the trembling legs even we have taken best possible shortcuts. Each side of our shortcut was too busy with many shops selling many things including medicated tree roots to many keral style clothes and best electronic dolls.

I was totally surprised to see the Palanquin bearer’s hard work to carry the pilgrims who are unable to climb the hill. I felt like they are real heroes on that hill. I got a chance to observe these Palanquin bearers as we have taken their short cut route during descent.

We reached Pampa ganapthi around at 7:20 AM then we reached pre-announced hotel where we had break fast. My mate Akhil and I are the first group who finished descent for first. Then we caught one KSRTC bus to reach “Nillakkal” parking place (Where our Vivekanda bus is parked). This place is around 20 KM from pampa. The bus is ok kind but the bus ticket price (16 INR) is not comparable with any other state travels transportation. As luckily my mate and I got seats in the bus to sit though it is fully crowded and we discussed about the security arrangements done by government on the entire route we traveled.

Then we spent long time to search our bus among the thousands of buses being parked there. Though each state bus were parked separately with proper name boards indicating state names it is not that easy to find our bus. At last we entered in our bus around at 9:15 AM and waiting for other devotees. Once the bus is filled with all of us we started around at 11:30 AM to “Malliyoor Maha ganapthi” temple. Once the bus started moving on the hill roads due to a satisfied feeling and the nice wind from lush green forest on each side of road I nap for some time.

We reached “Malliyoor Maha ganapthi” temple around at 2:00 PM and had lunch there after our darshan. Then it was long journey to Bangalore via calicut. We had dinner in Calicut around at 9:00 PM. On the way to Bangalore from calicut we have taken very famous eatables of kerala – “Banana chips” and “Halwa”.

Day 5(Monday) – 22/12/2008

A journey like these is fulfilling and gives a stir to both our mind as well body.

We reached Bangalore-Koramangala around at 8:45 AM. Once after reaching my room I quickly finished my last pooja in my peetam after taking bath. Then I went to temple to take out the maala with aachrya help.

This is how I fulfilled my longings … Thanks to Sri Darma Saasthaa for giving me this strength to write all my experiences in this pilgrimage.

Related my Blog posts :[1][2][3][4]
Other Related links: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Vibrant Devotional Song on Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala

Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa (Nei Abhishekam Swamikke)

6 comments to "Holy trip to Guruvayur, Chottanikara, Ayyappa Sabarimala - Part 2"

  • Its really very good.Even if some one visits the place also,they will not remember exactly in between how many temples they visited.Especially the names are very difficult to remember.Everything u posted so clearly.In future if some one wanted to go d trip,they can use this post as pre-guide.

  • chala bagundi ,

    way of presentation chala bagundi

    chaduvuthunte nenu ayyappa darshanam ki vellenattlu undi...

    it's wonderful krishna...keep it up

  • chala bagundi .. baga presence chesav,

    keep it up krishna..

  • Indeed your blog is amazing and worthy information,nice articles and posts blalbla a lot to say but i dont want to waste your blog's memory...good work and really appreciated your hard work

    keep blogging and All the best

    --- Vinod

  • Amazing buddy. You are an information bank. Keep updating ur blog with more interesting info. Hats off dude.

  • Superb feeling. I definitely agree. And the beauty of the lord amidst forest is unbeleivalble... Damn good post

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