The world-famous Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala remains continuously open only during the famous Makaravilaku Mandala Puja season (November – December – January). In date of opening of the Ayyappa Temple for the Mandalam season is November 17. Here is the schedule for the Sabarimala Pilgrimage The two-month pilgrim season, popularly known as Mandala Kalam, attracts millions of devotees to this hill shrine dedicated to Sastha or Ayyappa. The annual pilgrimage begins in mid-November and ends in mid-January with the Makaravilakku.
Mandala Pooja Mahotsavam Begins
Mandala Masam or Mandala Kalam begins on November 17, 2011 – the 41 day Mandalam Season begins. The Shrine is open on all days.
Temple closes after Mandala Pooja
The shrine then closes for a brief period and reopens for the Makaravilakku festival.
Temple re-opens for Makara Vilakku Session on
Makaravilakku is on The famous Makarajyothi sighting also will take place on this day.
Located Sabarimala Ayyappa
The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple is located in the forests of the Sabari Hills of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 meters. Pamba is the important base camp on the way to Sabarimala temple and from here one has to trek 5 km to reach the temple.
A pilgrim visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple during the Mandalapooja period observes certain austerities for 41 days. The pilgrim should abstain from non-vegetarian habits, should not indulge in sex, and should wear the special Rudraksha mala. Some people don’t shave or cut their hair during this period. Some ardent devotees only wear black or saffron dresses and avoid wearing foot wears.
Pilgrims set out in groups and each carries the Irumudikkettu, a cloth bundle containing traditional offerings to the temple which includes coconut, ghee, malar, rice, etc. People of all religions can visit the Sabarimala temple and there is no restriction on caste or creed. But there are certain restrictions on women. Only those women who have either passed their fertility age or those before reaching the stage of puberty are allowed in the shrine. Free food is provided during the period in Pampa, the base camp before the trek to the temple.