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The Lord Ayyappa Temple of Sabarimala, located in a forest in Pathanamthitta, is a hill shrine. The temple is situated on a hilltop at an altitude of 468 m (1535 ft) above sea level and is surrounded by mountains and dense forests. Vehicles going to Sabarimala are allowed only up to Pamba which is at a 5 kilometer distance from the temple. From here, visitors have to proceed by foot. The temple is open during the pilgrim season known as mandala kaalam which falls approximately between 14th November to 27th December every year, and makaravilakku which falls in mid January each year. During this time it is estimated that about 45-50 million devotees visit the shrine of Ayyappa. The temple is also open for a few additional days every month.
There are strict traditional practices, rituals, preparations and dress codes meant for those intending to visit Sabarimala. In preparation for their visit, pilgrims wear black rudraksha beads around their neck, dress in black or blue mundus/dhotis and abstain from the consumption of non-vegetarian food and alcohol. They also take a vow to celibacy for the 40 days prior to their pilgrimage. Women in the menstruating age group of 10 to 60 are not permitted to visit Sabarimala.
Sabarimala can be reached traveling through towns like Ettumanoor, Kottayam, Changanassery, Thiruvalla, Chengnanoor and Adoor. The most convenient route for pilgrims in south Kerala is to journey via Adoor and for those coming from north Kerala to proceed via Kottayam to reach Sabarimala
Sabarimala Pamba is situated at a distance of 96 km from Kottayam. One of the most visited pilgrim centres of India, Sabarimala is well connected to Kottayam by road. However, the best way to reach Sabarimala from Kottayam is by road, a journey of about 2 hours 20 minutes by car. The places covered between Erumeli and Sabarimala are Kottayam - 96 km -> Erumeli-> Sabarimala. On the way, there are several ATMs, rest stops,hotels and eating joints, including restaurants dishing out north and south Indian fare. Restrooms are clean at most the places en route. Several petrol pumps of Indian Oil and Hindustan Petroleum are also available at regular intervals on the way.most noteworthy cab service
How to reach Sabarimala by road?
The majority of visitors to Sabarimala arrive by road. Devotees coming from the state of Karnataka who come via Managalore or Mysore can come to Thrissur town in the central part of Kerala. They may then take the Moovattupuzha-Kottayam road to reach Sabarimala. It is about 210 kilometres from Thrissur to Sabarimala.
Devotees from Tamilnadu or Andra Pradesh can reach Thrissur via Coimbatore or Guddalore. Pilgrims coming from the central regions of the State of Tamilnadu can come via Madurai or else through Kumali to reach Sabarimala. From Madurai, it is about 250 kilometres by road to reach the shrine.
For pilgrims coming from regions in southern Tamilnadu like Nagercoil, Sabarimala may be reached via Thiruvananthapuram - Kottarakkara -and Adoor. Sabarimala is about 250 kilometres from Nagercoil. Pigrims can also arrive via NH47 from Thiruvananthapuram via Kollam, Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara, Chengannur or Thiruvalla.
Pilgrims arriving from Chenkotta of Tamilnadu, can come to Punaloor and reach Sabarimala via Ranni and Erumeli. Pilgrims coming by road from Ernakulam can proceed via Vaikom-Ettumanoor route to reach Kottayam and from there through the Kanjirappalli-Erumeli route to reach Sabarimala. The total distance is about 165 km.