New Delhi: Sabarimala, a Hindu pilgrimage center located in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District in Kerala, is believed to be the place where Ayyappan meditated after killing the powerful demoness, Mahishi.
Sabarimala is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world with an estimated 45–50 million devotees visiting every year.
The temple is open for worship only during the days of Mandalapooja (November 15 to December 26), Makaravilakku (January 14 - "Makara Sankranti") and Vishu (April 14), and the first five days of each Malayalam month.
The visit to Sabarimala is thought for settling the shani-dosha to make the planet give better life and lifespan.
Lakhs of devotees anxiously wait for hours at the Sabarimala temple and its nearby places to witness the ‘Makara Jyothi’ – the celestial flame that appeared thrice on the horizon.
The sighting of the celestial flame on the horizon marks the finale of the three-month-long pilgrim season at the mountain shrine.
The darshan of Ayyappa on ‘Makara Jyothi’ day is considered highly auspicious. It is believed that on this day, Lord Ayyappa merged with the main murti in the Sabarimala Temple.