Situated amid 18 hills and at an elevation of 524 m; Sabarimala temple is one of the most beloved temples in India, with a history of more than 5000 years. It is devoted to Lord Ayyappan, and the rumour has it that the Lord Parasurama placed the idol of Ayyappa at Sabarimala.
Every year, the pilgrimage season commences in November and concludes in January. The adherents follow a strict Ayyappa Vratam (religious vows) for 41 days! You can see them wearing Ayyappa Mala (black cloth around the neck), black clothes, walking barefooted, chant psalms, adopt celibacy and prevail harmless in principle before visiting the Temple on Shabarimalai hills. Abiding by strict restrictions, people under vows, carry Irumudi Kettu (travel pouch or travel kit that is used to carry pooja items containing traditional atonement to the Lord).
Moreover, millions pack the hills of Sabarimala to witness the 'Makara Jyothi' or the divine light. Makara Jyothi (a celestial star) appear on the 14 January, making it a packed event during this festivity. There are many viewpoints from where adherents can view the divine light.
Here are some of the pre-eminent viewpoints, from where you can witness the 'Makara Jyothi'.
Arguably, it is the most suitable spot to watch Makara Jyothi. And consequently, a significant crowd stays back at the hill shrine. Many even climb up the trees for a better view. However, people who have been to Sabarimala know of other places from where they can watch this event, more peacefully.
Located about 70kms away from Sabarimala, Panchalimedu is one of the best-kept secrets of the journey. On the auspicious day of Makara Jyothi, the place will be buzzing with Ayyappa devotees, who flock the hills to get a sight of the divine light; a sacred flame that is lit thrice in the Ponnambalamedu mountain near Sabarimala.
located on the way to Sabarimala temple, it is another vantage point for seeing the celestial light. And tens of thousands of people gather here too. However, provided the conditions are ideal, and there are no rain spots to play spoilsport, you can see the Makara Jyothi at its best.
It is one such location where people camp out in advance and is one of the most controlled spots, where the authorities put up new barricades to prevent any unfortunate incidents.
5.Malikappuram and Saramkuthi
PC: ragesh ev
These spots also see a massive rush on 14 January, where one can get a clear view of Makara Jyothi. Adherents who have been to Sabarimala before usually camp out here. So, if it is your first time, follow the veterans.
The Hilltop Parking Ground at Pamba is another spot from where you can see 'Makara Jyothi'. Since people get an opportunity to witness a brighter light, you can expect the place to be over-packed, and therefore the site is usually under police radar.
Located close to the temple, Pullumeda is more of a forest region! However, you can see the best view of the divine light. And since not many choose this path(as it is secluded), you can make the most out of it.