Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Pilgrimage to Sabarimala via Erumeli route

 Sabarimala is a pilgrim centre of the Hindus located at Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. The diety in Sabarimala is Lord Aiyyappa. The "mandalakaalam" or the festival season for Sabarimala had started during the month of December. There are two ways of doing the pilgrimage.One is to trek the traditional route through the jungle from Erumeli to Pampa and then to Sabarimala. The other is the usual route used by pilgrims nowadays - come to Pampa by vehicle and then trek from Pampa to Sabarimala. 

I went along with a team of 8 Swamis (the male pilgrim is called "Swamy") and 2 Malikappurams (only females aged below 10 and above 50 are allowed in Sabarimala and they are called "Malikappurams"). We started from Manickodu Siva Temple at Venjaramoodu where the priest made the mandatory "irumudikettu" which a pilgrim has to carry on his head till Sannidhanam (sanctum sanctorum) for each one of us. After praying to Lord Vighneswara and breaking the mandatory coconut, we started our pilgrimage from Venjaramoodu at around 9.30 PM on the 17th of Dec 2011. It was a tight fix inside our vehicle which was a Scorpio but no inconvenience or discomfort was felt amidst the chantings of "Swamiye Saranam Aiyyappa".

We reached Erumeli at around 1 AM and after getting the blessings of Vavaru Swamy and Erumeli Sasthavu we started our trek at around 2 AM. It was pitch dark and we were able to see only the path in front of us by the torch light. We also saw two elephants near Mulankoottam before Kalaketti, but by God's grace nothing untoward happened. Trust me when I say that an elephant's trumpeting sends chills down your spine at 3 AM in the morning in the middle of the jungle. 

The major places enroute from Erumeli to Pampa:
Erumeli - Kalaketti - Azhutha - Kallidankunnu - Mukkuzhy - Puthussery - Kariyilathodu - Adivaram - Karimala - Valiyanavattom - Cheriyanavattom - Pampa.

We reached Pampa at around 1.30 PM in the afternoon and after a refreshing bath in the holy river Pampa we started our climb towards Sannidhanam. Although there was a huge amount of rush at Sannidhanam, we were able to get a good "Darshan" of Lord Aiyyappa. After the darshan and abhishekam of ghee we started our downward trek. Our vehicle was waiting for us at Pampa as we had telephoned him in advance. It was a tired but hugely satisfied lot inside the vehicle. Soon people started falling asleep one by one and it was time to take rest for me also.

Vavar Mosque at Erumeli


Erumeli Pettah Thullal

Our ride, Scorpio
Me & Scorpio
Kalaketti Siva Temple
Our team resting at Kalaketti 
 Azhutha river

 Some photos along the path

Resting on the way
Battered and bruised :)
Stream of clear water on the way

On the trail again..

Nearing Pampa
At Pampa

Due to the rush and also due to tiredness, I didn't take any photos after reaching Pampa. Till the next mandalakaalam, "Swamiye Saranam Aiyyappa".


  1. Very well explained.
    I just felt the holiness of swami Ayyappan.

  2. Dear Swami,
    By seeing these photos, we are tempted to go to Sabarimala on this long route . Can we start on 1st day of temple opening during Nov

  3. Hi saw ur blog...very informative. .from which date can v go in periyapathai.pls let me know...u have gone in Dec 17th.

  4. Very useful information...:)

  5. Hello Sir,
    Are you aware of the opening date of the long route, if any?

  6. it will open mostly from December 1st

  7. Any one share the long route I.e, erumeli ,karimala route opening dates?

  8. Thank you for this blog.If you are travelling from kochi to sabarimala you can use Cochi to pamba car hire service.They will available to help you at any time.

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  10. Can you please tell me how much time does the pilgrimage to Sabarimala via Erumeli route take?

    1. it depends on the way we walk, as per my knowledge minimum 8 hours and maximum 2 days.

  11. Hi Swamy,
    I want walk from erumeli to pampa through forest.may I know when will open thus rout. I will be reach erumeli on 31-12-2016. Please help me.

    1. ya it open from 16-11-2106..swamisaranam

  12. periya pathai route opens on 20th dec 2016.

  13. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog Online Bus Ticket Booking

  14. Great post ! I appreciate your post. Thanks so much and let keep on sharing your stuffs. Pilgrim Centres or Religious Destinations in Kerala | Kerala Tourism

  15. which date can we go in kananapatha....

  16. We want an person who guide us to reach erimaley to pamba,any body is here means just ping me

  17. I took the trek from Erumeli at 5.00 am with my wife and reached a valley before Karimala probably called Adivaram or Kariyilamthodu (not sure) at 5.00 pm. We were 65 and 54 then. We camped there at night and proceeded the trek at 5.00 am next morning and reached Pampa by 12.00 noon. The final stretch from Pamba to Sabarimala temple was easy and took about 2 hours. The net says the distance from Erumeli to the temple is 45 km and I can't believe we made it so fast. The climb to Azhuthamala was very tough and even climbing down to Pampa from Karimala was not easy. Can anyone say the distance is truely 45 km, we still doubt ?