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          Swamyie Saranam Ayyappa !

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First Ayyappan drama

Nawab Rajamanickam, the founder of Madurai Devi Balavinoda Sangeetha Sabha, staged the first known drama of Lord Ayyappan in the year 1941. The drama was enacted at many places making a lot more people staunch Ayyappa believers.

Fire in Temple:

Unknown miscreant burned down the temple in the year 1950, it was known in the plains only after a month it had happened. The fire not only destroyed the temple but also the Sacred Stone Idol of Ayyappan. Though it is not known who did this dreadful crime but it is believed that some persons have done this out of religious hostility.

 

The Govt. of Kerala and the Devosom board renovated the temple and consecration was done in the year 1951 with a new idol in Panchaloka (made of five metals) during May -June by Shri Kantaru Sankararu, the then Thandri of Thazhaom, Chengannur.

After this the influx to the temple has risen many folds especially from the southern states of India.



Lodging:

There are 300 comfort stations, 52 pilgrim shelters, 113 rooms, three guesthouses, 24 donor buildings and two halls to have room for 500 pilgrims. These infrastructures can lodge around 10 lakh pilgrims at a time.


Flyover:

During 1986 a flyover surrounding the courtyard at the Sannidhanam was built to ease the overcrowding of the shrine. It has a link to Malikappuram temple also.

Pamba Bridge:

The wooden bridge over the Pamba has been replaced with the concrete bridge.

Railway and Bus service:

During the Sabarimala season Southern Railways and Bus Transport corporations of the southern states operate special trains and buses for the benefit of the pilgrims.

Communication Facilities:

Gone are the days are when one has to travel tens of miles to make a phone call. The telecommunication facility at Sabarimala has been revamped and the pilgrims now have the privilege of making national and international phone call right from Sannidhanam and Pampa

Carry Chairs ( Dholi):

The old and the unwell can go up and down the mountain in an open chair carried on the shoulders of four bearers. This is called Dholi. It can cost a few hundred rupees to use the service.

Devaprasanams:

It is a method of knowing the likes and dislikes of God and Goddess by performing certain pooja and rituals, after which a committee of astrologers gather and interpret the results of the outcome of pooja.



Golden 18 Steps:

The original granite steps were badly damaged due to continuous breaking of coconuts on the steps by pilgrims climbing the steps. The Devasom Board with the approval of Lord Ayyappan through a devaprasanam, covered the steps with panchaloka. The work was completed by 15th November 1985.

Golden Kavasams of the Lord:

Lord Ayyappan has three golden kavasams. They are:

 

The first kavasam is the centuries old one donated by the royal family of Pandalam, which is brought to Sabarimala every year during the Makara Jothi festival on January 14th
 
The second kavasam is the one donated by the royal family of Travancore in the year 1973 that is used for adorning the Lord during the Mandala Pooja festival. This weighs around 420 sovereigns.
 
The third kavasam was donated by Shri G.K.Devarajulu and his son of LMW group of Coimbatore, India and the one made under the supervision of our Guruswamy Sri Sri Venkatesh. This is made of 4.5 KGs of gold. This used for adorning the Lord on Vishu and on request by remittance of Rs.1000/- during Mandalam period.

Mode of selection of Melshanthi (Yearly High Priest):

The term of melshanthi lasts for one year from mid October to mid October. During July - August the Devosom board publishes notifications in leading newspapers for applications from eminent priests, well versed and experience in mantra and tantra. Those who have served a term as Melshanthi cannot apply.

The applicants are short listed after a preliminary interview. Out of the short listed candidates one is selected by Lord's grace by the method of lucky dip. Say, if ten candidates are selected, each ones name is written on a piece of paper and folded and deposited in a pot. Another ten piece of paper are taken and 9 papers are folded blank and on one paper the word 'Melshanthi' is written and dropped in another pot. Both the pots are taken inside the srikovil by Thandri and offered pooja. Later a child is made to take the papers from both the pots one by one. The child takes a paper each from both the pots. When a name and a blank paper match the candidate is rejected. When a name and the word 'melshanthi' matches the candidate is selected

 
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