My Experiences with Ayyappa

Sabareesh V.

New York, USA
FIRST TRIP TO SABARIMALA (August 2012)

Swamiye Saranam

My name is Sabareesh Vishwanathan and I would like to describe about my first trip to Sabarimala. I am 12 years Old and since the time I was in first grade, I saw my father praying at home everyday. We have a big Framed photo of Ayyappa Swami at home. My father always used to tell me stories about Ayyappa and his many trips he took to Sabarimala. In June of 2012, he asked me whether I am interested to go to Sabarimala. I immediately said Yes. He cautioned me that if you are taking this trip, you need to perform 41 days Vritam. He explained to me the rules of Vritam such as taking shower twice a day, doing pooja twice a day, chanting Saranam and showing Camphor to the Swami. We started the Vritam by going to the temple and wearing the Mudra Mala at the temple. Initially I was scared whether I would be able to take this Vritam but by God Grace it was very easy.

We travelled to a friends place in Cochin and from there we went to his ancestral house where they were planning to do the Erumudi. We started the Irumudi in the late evening and finished Irumudi for about 20 people by late night. We then started our Bus trip towards Sabarimala. I asked many questions to my father as to how would be the trekking in the Sabarimala. He said just pray Ayyappa and everything will go well. The road towards Pampa by Bus was through the hills and it was raining heavily. I was scared but I had a belief that Ayyappa will take care of us. We parked the Bus in Pampa and since it was raining heavily, we could not take bath in the Pampa River but my father brought some water from Pampa and sprinkled on me. It was a great feeling.

Then our journey started. I was wondering how will I climb the mountain with bare foot, pouring rain and slippery roads. We had to carry the Irumudi on our head all through. We keep chanting Swamiye Ayyappa and we reached Sannidanam without any trouble. On reaching we saw the 18 Holy Steps or Pattinetam Padi and I was so excited. There was not much crowd and we could climb the step with Irumudi and see Ayyappa. It was a small, glittering Gold Statue. We saw many other gods there like Mallikapuratama and my dad told me the story behind her.

Everyone has to go atleast once to Sabarimala to experience it. I am greatful to God and my parents that I could complete the darshan without any problem and returned home safely. It was a good feeling and I really enjoyed the journey because it made me feel like I wanted to do this again./p>

We don't get so many opportunities staying in USA to visit India often to take this kind of journey. Like me, all of us want to build an Ayyappan Temple in NY and I would request everyone to help us to build a temple in New York.