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Last updated Sat, Aug 23, 2014 07:04 AM IST
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Sabarimala
 Story Dated: Saturday, August 23, 2014 7:4 hrs IST 
Venue:       ’Sabarimala’, is a major pilgrim centre, situated in the northeast of Pathanamthitta, amidst the virgin forest of the Western Ghats.

The sacred mountain temple is about 72 km northeast of Pathanamthitta district. Altitude is 914 metres above sea level.Pilgrim season starts from November and lasts till  mid January.

The landscape has vast unending stretches of forests, rivers and plantations. Evergreen and moist, deciduous forest covers half of the total district area. The holy Pamba river formed by the confluence of five smaller rivers, descends from the Sabarimala. The sanctum sanctorum nestles 914 metres above sea level.The shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa who is believed to have been born from Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, and Lord Siva, the Destroyer.

No woman devotee in the fertility age group is allowed to proceed beyond Pamba. Devotees undertake rigorous penance, ritualistic vows and fasts for 41 days before they visit the temple.

The main festivals are the         Mandala pooja               , the         Makara vilakku                 and the         Vishu vilakku            . Millions of devotees, irrespective of caste, creed and colour, from all over the country, climb the 18 sacred steps to the sanctum sanctorum for a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa.

      Getting there
                    
Transportation is available only upto Pamba, which is 66 km from Pathanamthitta. Pilgrims have to trek from Pampa to reach the shrine.

Nearest railway station: Chengannur, about 28 km from Pathanamthitta.

Nearest airports:  Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, about 119  km from Pathanamthitta; Cochin International Airport,  about 133 km from Pathanamthitta.
 
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