10 Dec 2012

Chanting Saranam Ayyappa

So the first weekend of December 2012 put me back in Sabarimala after a span of 6 years.

Nothing much has changed. The climb still tests your endurance. And being with family and cousins it was enjoyable. Of course elders had their devotion as the prime motivator but for me it still remains curiosity. Curiosity as how so many devotees across the country are driven by faith and devotion to take up this arduos activity. The climb from Pamba to Sannidham not withstanding, its the long queues that test the occasional devotee.
Devotees having a bath in the holy Pamba river
 My personal perspective (as of today) is that one should visit the place on quieter days (it opens for 4 days every month) rather than the year end pilgrimage rush.  It allows you more time to spend with the deity and more time to absorb the atmosphere of spirituality over here.

And a thought also goes back to my grandfather who visited this place for 55 years at a stretch in the olden days when there were no oxygen camps or any facilities for devotees. The place was then a forest zone and wild animals (elephants and tigers) ruled supreme. They walked on foot and spent the nights in pitched tents eating a light meal of rice broth.  He had many an exciting tale to narrate after each of his visits and his exploits are often reinforced among the younger public during family get-together's.

If things go right, I should see myself back here next year as well.

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