The truth behind a wonderful first trip to Sabarimala!
The sudden plan of going to Sabarimala was both fascinating and intimidating to me as it was my first trip as a pilgrim. I have come across conversations about my father going with a few of my cousins. But at last, I was going to go as well. When I asked my dad what Sabarimala really was, he told me that was a huge temple on the top of a huge mountain that was devoted exclusively to God Ayyappa. I wondered why mom and my sisters weren’t coming when he clarified that only men and old women can travel to Sabarimala. He also told me that it was going to be a long journey up, which would take at least 1 and a half hours to climb up the mountain. Only then can we have a glimpse of God Ayyappa. It kind of bothered me as I wasn’t sure if I could walk that long. Plus I had to give up on meat. I Steeled my nerves by telling that this was for God so it would be worth it…
The Sabarimala journey
The first thing we did was wake up early in the morning, take a shower and put on a mala. Being a 41 days affair, there were a few rules (niyamas) to abide by. This included the way we showered and sustained throughout the day as well. This course period is called as “DEEKSHA“. All this should be followed under a GURU(teacher). The main rules were:
- Cold Showers before the sunrise is the first rule (the real meaning of this rule is we need to cleanse our body to remain healthy)
- Do the bath evening with normal water. This is also a good healthy guideline to get rid of the stress of daily work. So we can have a proper sleep, which is more important to a body.
- Practices of Pooja’s in the morning (before sunrise) and evening (after sunset). Pooja’s or praying to god are meant for getting concentration. So, performing pooja in the morning means we are putting a coma to home life and to getting ready to do the daily work. And doing pooja in the evening means, we are putting a coma to day work and to getting ready to do the home life.
- Having one time meals, this is a very good health point and also benefits us in keeping a proper diet.
- Do “Annadanam” to others. This is what God is expecting from us as human beings; that we do a favor to others.
- Sleeping on the ground without a pillow or bed. Doing this is a healthy factor, as it helps our body for perfect blood circulation.
- Avoiding footwear. The pressure on the foot bottom will keep the organs of the body active. Also while trekking to Sabarimala hills, it is always better to walk with a barefoot as it will be slippery.
- Eat only vegetarian as it will cleanse and detoxify our body from all impurities.
- Practice Brahmacharya. This rule is framed by elders to get concentration on our training.
It took me a while but I finally realized that Besides spiritual purposes, this helps in our personality development which will eventually synchronize and control our body, soul, mind, and diet!
The trip towards Sabarimala
After all this procedure is followed, we did the irumudi kettu. Coconuts with ghee and some incense sticks along with various other items were filled into a black cloth bag with two pockets called an irumudi. I wasn’t allowed to let it touch the ground and I had to carry on my head most of the time. All this was done on the final day of our Deeksha which was the day we traveled to Sabarimala. We woke up early and began our pilgrim journey to various temples. All the way we were chanting bhajans and mantras. Every temple we stopped by, we got prasadam and continued. In total, we visited 10 temples in between. Finally, we reached the base of the mountain which is by the Pampa River.
I was ready and energized and was determined to make it to the top. We stopped and prayed at the Ganapathi temple they have before you start your climb and threw coconuts at a wall. About midway up, we stopped because there was this tradition that kanni Ayyappan had to put the sharam on saramkuthi which is a special tree where you place the sharam. Halfway through the walk, I was starting to get tired. We decided to rest at the resting area and after a few minutes, we continued climbing. About a while later we finally reached Sabarimala. Having climbed the 18 holy steps, we waited in line to see God Ayyappa. As we reached the Ayyappa Sannidhanam, the doors finally opened and I saw the glowing statue of Ayyappa. I felt very blessed and privileged. On finishing, we prayed one last time and started down on the return journey. I felt really happy with myself because I had attempted something that I doubted I could do. This was my first travel to Sabarimala and I had a really good time.
The truth behind an amazing trip
I’m surely planning on visiting Sabarimala once again. This time we made it with Proximove which took charge of our entire travel necessities and dropped us at our destination on time. Proximove is an online bus and tempo hire platform which has a collection of the best buses in the city. They also have the vehicles checked periodically to make sure it’s in the finest condition to travel with. We were provided with several add-on bus facilities as well which made it a really smooth trip! Now I know whom to go to when I plan my next Sabarimala visit!