Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta, Kerala is dedicated to Lord  Sastha or Lord Ayappan, as He is popularly known. The temple is located at a height of 4100 feet above sea level, within the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It is one of the world’s most visited pilgrimage sites with more than 50 million devotees coming each year. This is a unique temple with traditions that are a mix of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism.

Presiding Deities

  • Lord Dharmasastha (Lord Ayyapan)


About Sabarimala Temple

Darshan Timings

04:00 AM to 01:00 PM || 03:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Dress Code


Photography and Videography

Not Allowed


Not Allowed

Sabarimala Temple Puja and Darshan Timings

Puja And Darshan Name Timings
Opening of Sanctum 03:00 AM
Ganapati Homam 03:30 AM
Neyyabhishekam 03:30 AM to 07:00 AM
Usha Puja 07:30 AM
Neyyabhishekam 08:30 AM to 11:00 AM
Neyyabhishekam with Ghee deposited in ‘Ney Thoni’ 11:10 AM
Ashta Abhishekam (15Nos.) 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Ucha Puja 12:30 PM
Closing of Sanctum 01:00 PM
Opening of Sanctum 03:00 PM
Deeparadhana 06:30 PM
Pushpabhishekam 07:00 PM to 09:30 PM
Athazha Puja 09:30 PM
Harivarasanam / Closing of Sanctum 11:00 PM

Puja in Sabarimala Temple

Pandit Ji in Sabarimala Temple

Nearby Attractions

  • Malikappuram Devi Temple
  • Sri Rama Padam
  • Pampa Ganapathi Temple

Temple Location


History and the story of Sabarimala Temple

The history and story of Sabarimala temple as a pilgrimage  begins thousands of years ago. Those were the days when even demons obtained mighty powers from the Gods after severe penance. One such demoness was Mahishi, sister of Mahishasura. She had the boon of invincibility granted by Lord Brahma. She could only be killed by a son of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Mahishasura was killed by Durga Mata and now Mahishi was determined to avenge his death. She wreaked havoc and destruction on earth and in heaven. The Devas could not bear any more of this, so they asked Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu to end Mahishi’s reign of terror. Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini and a son was born out of the union with Lord Shiva. The child was to be placed on earth, and he would kill Mahishi in due time.

On earth King Rajashekhara was the ruler of a kingdom. He had no children and was longing for an heir. He and his queen used to pray to Lord Shiva fervently to get His blessings. One day the king was out hunting and on the river bank he heard a child crying. He looked around and to his astonishment, he saw a child on the grass. He picked up the child and it stopped crying. Just then a sanyasi came and told the king to take the child home. The sanyasi predicted the child would be someone special. The queen was delighted when the king came home with the child. They named him Manikandan, as there was a golden chain around his neck. The king and queen brought up the child as their heir and he was educated in the Shastras and the art of fighting as any prince would have been. Manikandan was proclaimed Heir to the Throne. When Manikandan was twelve years old, a son was born to the queen. She now wanted her own son to be the king and started scheming with the king’s minister to achieve her goal. The king wanted Manikandan to be the ruler after him. The minister and the queen did not want this to happen. As per her scheme, she pretended illness and confined herself to her quarters. The physician who was also a part of the scheme, told the king that only the milk of a tigress could cure the queen. The queen was sure Manikandan would volunteer to bring the milk and would perish in the attempt. The king first sent soldiers to do the task, but they returned without succeeding. Manikandan declared he would do it, and the king reluctantly allowed him to go.  The time for Manikandan to accomplish his mission on earth had come, for He was none other than Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva’s son, born to rid the world of Mahishi the demoness.  He rode into the forest and first found the demoness and killed her after a fierce battle. Lord Shiva and Vishnu along with many Devas appeared as tigers and Manikandan came home riding on a tiger. The sanyasi who had met the king earlier came once again and told the king the entire story. Manikandan renounced the kingdom in favour of the King and queen’s son.  The king requested him to stay, but Manikandan refused. The king wanted to build a shrine dedicated to Manikandan and asked him to indicate a place for the shrine. Manikandan shot an arrow, which fell in the spot now known as Sabarimala temple. He then disappeared into the forest and was never seen again. The king built a temple dedicated to Lord Ayappan in Sabarimala and it has been a pilgrimage since then.

The temple as seen today was first built in the 10th century CE, and has been preserved and renovated from time to time by various rulers. The idol in the sanctum is made of Panchaloha – a mix of gold, silver, copper, iron and lead. There are 18 steps leading up to the sanctum. These 18 steps are considered the path to self realisation, which is the highest achievement in Sanatan Dharma. They also represent the 18 Puranas. There are smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesh, Vavurswami and Nag Devta. Another unique aspect of this temple is that it is not open throughout the year. It is open for worship only during the days of Mandala Pooja, Makaravilakku, Vishu and also during the first five days of every Malayalam month. In all it is open for 127 days in a year. The main festivals here are Makara Vilakku, Vishu and Onam. 

Importance of Sabarimala Temple

Sabarimala temple is dedicated to Lord Ayappan, the Avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. This unique form of the Lord is enshrined in a sacred place said to be the same place visited by Lord Rama when He was searching for Sita Mata. This is where He was offered fruits by His devotee Sabri, giving the name Sabarimala.

Best time to visit Sabarimala Temple

The best time to visit Sabarimala is from 15 November to 26th December during the Mandala Puja Utsavam, when the temple is open throughout this period. For the rest of the year the temple is open only on the first five days of the Malayalam month.

How to reach Sabarimala 

The nearest railway station is Kottayam railway station which is about 94 km from the temple (Pampa). Chengannur railway station is about 89 km from the temple (Pampa)

The nearest airport is Cochin Airport and is about 156 km from the temple (Pampa).

Trivandrum Airport is about 170 km from the temple (Pampa).


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