My Experiences with Ayyappa

Jaymohan Kottilil

New York, USA
My First Sabarimala Visit

I thought that going to the Sabarimala was going to be very hard. First, before we go to Sabarimala, we have to start fasting when the Mandala Pooja starts. During the 30th day, we traveled to India. In India, we went to Cochin. When we reached Cochin, my aunt's family and my family went to my grandma's house for the Kettunira . We have to do the Ayyapa Kettunira before going to the Sabarimala. During this pooja, we make the Irumudi. We carry the Irumudi on the head while climbing to Sabarimala.

On the way to Sabarimala, we visited a lot of temples. We visited the Guruvayor temple first. This was when the bad weather started. It was raining really hard. We stayed for the morning pooja and then we left for the second temple: Kodugalloor temple. Then we went to Chottanikara temple, Ettunanoor temple, and finally Erumeli temple. Before praying at the Erumeli temple we had to visit the mosque. It is said that we have to visit the Vavar Swami first because vavarswami was ayyapa's friend. Ayyapa didn't care about the different religions. He treated everyone the same. After visiting all of these temples we reached Sabarimala. I thought Sabarimala was a temple, but when we reached Pamba, my dad told me we had to climb the mountain to reach Sabarimala. He also said it was a 1 hour walk.

This was very exciting because this was my first time going to Sabarimala. I also went with my friends. While we were climbing up the mountain in Sabarimala, all of our relatives and friends who came with me to Sabarimala where chanting bhajans. Halfway through the walk, my friends and I were getting tired. We decided to rest at the resting area. After a few minutes we continued climbing. After half an hour we finally reached Sabarimala. We went straight to the temple but we found out that the temple was closing in 2 minutes. The police was just about to close the door but my dad ran to the door and talked to the police. He said that the police said we can go in but next time we shouldn't come so late.

We climbed the 18 holy steps and waited on in the line to see Ayyapa. As we reached the Ayyapa Sanidhanam, I saw that the police was at the front controlling the people. I only got a glimpse of Ayyapa before getting pushed out of the way to let the next person see but I felt something special inside because I was lucky enough to have a chance to see Ayyapa. Most people have to wait until they are older to see Ayyapa. Also, young girls and old women are only permitted to see Ayyapa. I am proud that at such a young age, Ayyapa allowed me to go to Sabarimala.

This was an amazing experience for me and this was one of the few things I did to connect with my Indian background. I hope they make an Ayyapa temple in New York so we can worship ayyapa every day.