Location : 72 km north-east of Pathanamthitta district.
Altitude : 914 metres above sea level.
Pilgrim season : November - mid-January
Amidst the virgin forest wilderness of the Western
Ghats lies the sacred mountain 'Sabarimala', a major pilgrim centre
in India. The landscape has vast unending stretches of forests,
rivers and plantations. Evergreen and moist deciduous forest cover
half 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 the union of 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 in December-January and the Vishu vilakku in April. 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.
Inaccessible by road or rail, one has to trek a distance of 4 km
to reach the shrine. Transportation is available only upto Pamba,
which is 66 km from Pathanamthitta.
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