Considered to be the second most visited temple in South India, the Sabarimala Shrine is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan and is thronged by close to 3 million devotees every year. The pilgrimage begins in the month of November and ends in January. Mandala pooja and Makaravilakku are the two main events of the pilgrim season. The temple stays closed during the rest of the year except for the first five days of every Malayalam month and during Vishu (April), the New Year as per the Malayalam calendar.
Certain customs are to be strictly observed if one has to undertake a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. Pilgrims who attend the Mandalapooja observe austerities for 41 days by abstaining themselves from non vegetarian food and carnal pleasures. Pilgrims set out on the pilgrimage in groups under a leader with each individual carrying a cloth bundle called Irumudi kettu containing traditional offerings.
Sabarimala temple has no restrictions for entry into the temple based on caste or creed. The temple is open to males of all age groups and to women who have either passed their fertility age and those before reaching the stage of puberty.
From SAJ Earth, get onto the arterial MC Road and head for the town of Palai. From Palai depart to Erumely through Kanjirapally and therefrom to Pamba, the last town from where you need to trek 4 to 5 kms to reach the temple.
Day 01: Arrival at Cochin Airport/Railway Station, Proceed to Sabarimala, on the way visit to Chottanikara Temple, Vaikom Temple, Ettumanoor Temple, Erumeli Temple and drop at Pamba. (You can trek 5 kms to reach the temple to have Darshan)
Day 02: ( Darshan- depends upon rush over there) Early morning after the Darshan you can reach Pamba around 9.30 am and proceed to Cochi - SAJ earth Resort Evening You can visit Aluva Siva Temple Over night Stay at SAJ Earth Resort
Day 03: Early morning Proceed to nirmalya Darshan at Guruvayoor Temple. Back to hotel and check out and proceed to Cochin Airport/Railway Staion.
Once considered to be the second richest temple in South India, Guruvayoor and the Guruvayoorappan temple are synonymous with each other. The presiding diety is Lord Vishnu shown representing the divine form of Sree Krishna. Known as a Sree Krishna Temple, the diety is seen with four arms holding the Conch, the divine discus Sudarshana Chakra, the Mace and the divine Lotus. Records indicate that the temple is more than 1000 years old and the diety is more than 5000 years old.
Guruvayur, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan, is located 29 kms north west of Trichur town. From SAJ Earth, you need to get onto the NH 47, a kilometer away and head out north towards Trichur. From Trichur you head off the NH 47 and reach Guruvayoor through Kunnamkulam.
Kurisumala, meaning the `Mountain with a Cross' is a spiritual centre started in 1955. A cross atop the mountain with steps leading up to it has been a pilgrimage spot for pilgrims from all creeds. For years Vagamon was known for the Ashram, started by a Belgian Cistercian monk. This community of `sadhakas' or ascetics believe in `living a monastic life in prayer and work' as a means of spiritual fulfillment rather than being a purely religious based centre.
Perhaps one reason why Kurisumala has not attained the kind of religious fervor that modern day spiritual pilgrimage centres like Malayatoor. For tourists, Kursiumala is a great place to visit and ideally one should do it by walking up to the base of the mountain and perhaps up the rock to the Cross.