Ayyappan is the Hindu god and is the most popular god in Kerala. Ayyappan is called by various names such as Hariharaputra, Manikanta, and Dharma Shasta.
According to the Hindu tradition, he was born with the powers of Shiva and Vishnu to defeat the demoness Mahishi. Ayyappan was born from the power of Shiva and Vishnu’s Mohini avatar.
The famous Ayyappan shrine is at Sabarimala, Kerala. The shrine receives millions of pilgrims every year in late December and early January. The most famous festival is Makaravilakku (Makara Sankranti), observed during the winter season. Free annadanam will be offered to all the devotees during their visit to Sabarimala.
Once the king of Pantalam Rajashekhara found a baby boy in a forest, and he carried the baby to his kingdom, and he named him as Manikantha(Ayyappan).
Ayyappan brings tigress milk for the sake of the queen by riding on a tiger, but after doing so Ayyappan left the kingdom, and becomes a yogi and lived in the mountain(SABARIMALA).
Sabarimala is the most famous temple in Kerala. Other important temples are:-
1.Kulathupuzha Sastha Temple
2.Aryankavu Sastha Temple
3.Achankovil Sree Dharmasastha Temple
4.Erumely Sree Dharmasastha Temple
5.Ponnambalamedu Temple.
Lord Ayyappan’s worship is prevailing from several thousands of years. Going to Sabarimala is different from going to other temples. For going to Sabarimala, We have to observe fasting for one mandalam (48 days) and to take only vegetarian food. Smoking and drinking are totally prohibited. We should get up early in the morning, and do puja to ayyappan, and to visit nearby temples. Daily we must take a bath. It is better to observe fasting in the night or otherwise, we should take only Tiffen items. During that fasting period, we should not think about unnecessary things, and our mind must concentrate only on Lord Ayyappan and chant his mantras and his name. We should get irumudi( Coconut filled with ghee) from the guruswamy(senior ayyappa devotee), and to take it throughout the mountain of Sabarimala and to worship Lord Ayyappa.
If we strictly follow all the procedures which have to be adopted for going to Sabarimala, we will definitely get Lord Ayyappan’s blessings and our needs and wishes will get fulfilled through his grace.
Lord Ayyappa, being the son of Shiva and Vishnu, contains the powers equivalent to that of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Lord Ayyappa Deity in Sabarimala shows an abaya mudra(blessing) pose. He will relieve us from our sins, and help us to live our life happily and peacefully, and will give SALVATION at the end of our life based on our true bhakti. Let us pray to him and be blessed.