January 16, 2014

Sabarimala Pilgrimage - பள்ளிக்கட்டு சபரிமலைக்கு

Starting from Pondicherry on Sunday 5 Jan 2014 and returning on Sunday 12 Jan 2014, I was on travel with a group of 28 people on the Sabarimala Yatra / Pilgrimage / Trip. This years trip covered approx 2000km (1242miles) trip and 52km  (32miles) trekking. 

Generally, our Sabarimala trip circuit covers the following places in 5 days
1) Pillaiyarpatti
2) Kundrakudi
4) Kutralam
3) Erumeli - Sabarimala
4) Maasaniamman & Palani
5) Srirangam, Vekkaliamman & Samayapuram

However this year, we took a 7 day trip covering the temples mentioned in below table which covers 27 temples apart from Sabarimala. 

Day 1
Pillaiyarppatti Karpaka Vinayakar Thirukovil
Vairavanpatti Sri Valaroleeswarar Thirukovil
Thirukoshtiyur Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal Thirukovil
Thiruppullani Adi Jagannatha Perumal Thirukovil
Devipatinam Submerged Navagraha Temple built by Lord Rama
Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Thirukovil
Day 2
Navathirupathi 1) Devarpiran Swami Perumal Thirukovil - Rettai Tirupathi South Temple, Tholaivillimangalam
2) Aravind Loschanar Swami Thirukovil - Rettai Tirupathi North Temple, Tholaivillimangalam
3) Sri Mayakoothar Perumal Temple Thirukkulandhai, Perunkulam
4) Kaaisinavendhan Perumal Temple - Thiruppulinkudi
5) Vijayaasana Perumal Temple - Thiru Varagunamangai(Natham)
6) Makara Nedunkuzhai Kannan Temple, Then Thirupperai
7) Vaithamanidhi Perumal Temple - Thirukolur
8) Adhinaatha Perumal Temple - Thirukkurugur(Azhwar Thirunagari)
9) Sri Vaikuntanatha(Kallapiran) Temple - Sri Vaikuntam
Thiruchendur Thiruchendur Murugan Thirukovil
Day 3
Kutralam Thirukutraleeswarar Thirukovil
Tenkasi Kasi Viswanathar Thirukovil
Aryankavu Aryankavu Sastha Thirukovil
Kulathupuzha Kulathupuzha Thirukovil
Erumeli Erumeli Dharmasasta Thirukovil
Day 4
Sabarimala Sabarimala Dharmasastha Ayyappan Thirukovil
Day 5
Ettumanoor Ettumanoor Mahadevar Thirukovil
Day 6
Chottanikkara Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Thirukovil
Kodungallur Kodungallur Bhagavathy Thirukovil
Guruvaayoor Sri Guruvaayoorappan Krishnan Thirukovil
Day 7
Palani Palani Murugan Thirukovil
Samayapuram Samayapuram Mariamman Thirukovil

Sabarimala Trekking has two types of trekking viz 1) Long Trekking 48 kms 2) Short Trekking 4kms in the forward journery to the Sabarimala Temple. However, the return journery is only a short trekking. 

I took the long trekking after 5 years. Last 5 years, I could take it because of business travels. 

Long Trekking can be phased into following legs

1) Erumeli - Kalakatti Ashram
This leg covers 19km for most part on flat surfaces, roads but occasional slopes. I personally consider this leg to be psycologicaly tiring as it almost takes 4 hours of continuous trekking on plain roads amidst rubber plantations.  

Secondly, the roads make it difficult during hot day hours. 

This year I made it very easily thanks to the rains when I started from Erumeli at 5:50p.m. We took occasional breaks at Subramaniya Temple and Thalapaarakottaa before reaching Kalakatti at 10:00p.m.  We halted at Kalakatti, had dinner and slept.

2) Kalakatti Ashram - Kallidam Kundru (Azhudhamala Top)
We started from Kallidam kundru at 4:00am and took a bath at Azhudha River before we started trekking Azhudha mala (mountain) at 5:30a.m. We reached Kallidam Kundru at 6:30a.m. This leg is relatively a easier leg as we 

climbed it before sunrise. Kallidam Kundru is the top of the Azhudhamala. It is believed that at Kallidam Kundru, demon Magizshi is buried, hence, first timers drop here a stone collected from Azhudha.

3) Kallidam Kundru to Puthucherry Thaavalam.
This leg is a very long leg which by itself is covered in two sub legs viz a) Kallidam Kundru to Mukkuzhi b) Mukkuzhi to Puthucherry Thaavalam. Kallidam Kundru to Mukkuzhi is a easier one as we reach in approximaely 1.5 hours. 

We took a break at Mukkuzhi for 30minutes. We headed to Puthucherry Thaavalam. But this is one of the sub leg is a very long leg of approximately 14 kms. We took many breaks before we reached Puthucherry Thaavalam for 

lunch and rest.

4) Puthucherry Thaavalam to Karimala Uchi (Top)
We climbed towards Karimala which is bit difficult one as it took almost 2 hours. In this leg, I was suffering from stomach pain because of severe electrolyte loss due to 4 days travel. When I reached Karimala it was 4:30pm.

5) Karimala Uchi (Top) to Periyanaivattam (Big Elephants Circle) 
 I and few others started to Periyanaivattam at 6:00p.m. I started slowly, but Murali (my fellow traveller) was almost running in the dark. I too started running along with him. If not I had ran with Murali, I wouldn't have reached 

Periyanaivattam at 7:20pm itself. 

6) Periyaanaivattam to Sabarimala Sannidhaanam (Temple)
At Periyaanaivattam, I took a bath at Pampa river and started to Sabarimala at 8:00pm. I travelled via Pampa Ganapathy Temple, Neelimala, Appachimedu, Sabarimala before I took the virtual online queue. I reached Sannidhanam .

p.s: Short trek covers only the leg 6.

Approximately around 10:15pm. I was rather very slow from Pampa to Sabarimala taking breaks for every 10minutes. I have almost taken 75minutes for this 4km leg. But day long trekking didn't leave much energy to trek fast. However, I didn't had to stand any queue till Sannidhanam steps, thanks to virtual online queue booking receipt. I had a excellent dharshan of Lord Ayyappan in Pushpa alankara at Sannidhanam at 10:37pm. That dharshan is an everlasting memory.

Overall, this trip is a much more than satisfactory to me. I was able to make the complete trekking barefoot. First, I didn't believe that I will be able to make it barefoot  completely because I am used to wearning shoes in office daily (which I should not wear for 41 days before taking on the trekking). Secondly, last 5 years I have been in different locations such as New Delhi, Bangalore. Hence, I had to make short trekking trips. The success of this trip proves yet again that விரதம் இருந்தால் வெற்றி கிடைக்கும் (if you toil you will achieve success). 

Apart from that, visiting 28 temples in 7 days was a mind calming experience for me. I am not sure, if I had earlier enjoyed the scenic beauty of the long trek if not occasionally. This time, I personally took time to observe the surroundings, listen to the  cacophony of birds, tall trees, broad stout roots of the trees, dense wild forests etc. Apart, from religious point of view, I also see this trip to be a indicator of physical stamina and fitness condition. 

Wishing that God is graceful on me in calling me and giving me the strength every year to take this trip to visit him.

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