The trek to Sabarimala

I had made a trip to Sabarimala on February 14, 2007. Sabaraimala is locate in Pathanamthitta District of Kerala. The hill-top shrine of Lord Ayyappa can be reached only by foot. The most common path used by pilgrims is the walkway from Pamba which is about 8 kilometres long. The first 5 kilometres is a very steep climb, while the next 3 kilometres in more or less level followed by a descend to reach the temple.
As a tradition, pilgrims first take a dip at the holy river of Pamba before visiting a temple of Ganesh (Ganapathy) from where the climb begins. Off late, the actual bathing place at river Pamba has stagnant water, and many pilgrims prefer to bath at "Pamba valley" a few kilometres down stream. We too stopped at the same place...



The actual bathing place was quite crowded, and we preferred to stop a few kilometres upstream. The river bed was about knee deep at this place, and the water was really cool there! We reached the Pamba Ganapathi temple at around 1430. After a few rituals, we decided to start our climb by around 1515. The first few metres of the climb was normal. There are two ways to climb the hill - one the conventional route via appachimedu, and the second is the "Swamy Ayyappan Road". The latter has much slighter ascends, and the route transverses through a thick forest, and hence it offers shade for pilgrims...







The climb was cool, and I made it to the end point by around 1700 (about 10 minutes earlier than our team members!). After we all met together, we continued our journey ahead which is a mild descent into a queue shelter which finally leads to the temple...



We had a few known persons at the temple, and they had arranged rooms for our stay. We were around 6 people in all. After praying at the temple in the night, we had a good sleep, and once again went to the temple in the morning. We had to rush back to Pamba, since about 3 of our team members had to catch a train from Ernakulam at 1400. We began our descent at 0700. Just before leaving, I clicked an image of the temple...



The descent was much tougher than our climb. The gradient is too steep and it taxes the muscles of the leg heavily. Just at the beginning of the 5-kilometre steep down gradient, I saw this...



A lens-eye view of the steep down gradient:



The last few metres of the trek:



I reached the base point at around 0815, while the remaining team members reached by 0830-0900. We left the place by 1000, and the driver did a good job my leaving us at the station (Ernakulam Junction) by 1400. That was indeed a good journey!

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