Panchatheertha Adi Parasakthi Devasthanam
Anchukuzhi, Erumeli, Kerala, India

Sabarimala Pilgrimage - Frquently asked questions

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1) Am I allowed to wear shoes / chappals or other foot wear to protect the feet?
Yes. There are no restrictions. However some people avoid foot wear after Pampa as you reach the final hills. You could carry them on the back pack.

2) Where do we sleep in the nights?
All halts are only at temples. Please see some of the temples on the way answered later. You are mostly your own. Hence include blankets in the back pack.

3) What kind of clothing is permitted?
Very light black or blue colored shirts / dhothi or pants. Carry very light and only two pairs.

4) What would be the temperature on the way?
Day times can go up to 30 degree celcious (86oF) and nights could drop down to 8 oC degrees (46oF) on the mountains

5) What is the elevations of the temple?
Sabarimala is around 1260 Metres (4135 ft). Karimala could be about 200 feet higher

6) Do we encounter wild animals on the way?
Usually we sight only harmless monkeys or snakes on the way.

7) What kind of protection do we need in forests?
Devotion is the first elemant of protection. Nothing distracts a devoted mind. Mosquito repellents and other general first aid is a good thing to carry. Blisters usually develop on feet if you are not used to walking long distances. Amrut Malam, commonly found in medical shops gives immediate relief.

8) What kind of facilities are available on the way? What preperations do I need to take? Can I show up with nothing in hand?
Moderate facilities exist in the temples. On the mountains, you are your own. You definitely need to take care of your personal needs like prescribed medicines and clothes etc. However all pooja /  pilgrimage related items like irumudi keettu and coconuts will be made available at the kettunirackal. Please inform the coordinators in advance if you need any specific arrangements.

9) What are the temples visited on the way?

Some of the temples visited on the way are as follows. Please remember that the group leader might determine alternate routes dynamically.

10) How do we get food on the way?
Food will be arranged on the way. Usually offered by devotees in the initial days, group cooking is a common theme in the forest

11) What are the restrictions?
Strict penance during the 41 days preceeding the trip.

12) Medical help?
There are hospitals and medical stores / pharmacies on the way. However please be sure to carry the regular medicines that you need.

13) Are cameras and cell phones permitted?
There are no restrictions. However electronic gear can get damaged if it rains on the way. Cell phones are strongly discouraged as it will bring you back to "Samsara" - the real and transactional world. What is the point in walking towards Sayoojya with mind completely embedded in samsara? It is better to practice chanting Sharana Mantram  (Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa) all along.

14) How much distance will we cover?
Depending on the route, it could be 120 to 140 kilometers one way. Return is by car / other means of public transport.

15) What if I am not able to wear mala 41 days before the trip?
Many of the pilgrims from abroad and distant places encounter this. You can wear the mala at the earliest convenience from your home, local temple or guru.

16) Are the trip conducted entirely through forest routes?
Not really. Fast disappearing forest routes start only on the fifth day.

17) Am I allowed to take a break during the pilgrimage and go else where?
Usually people do not do that. According to the tradition, one starts the journey with out looking back at friends and relatives, no bye bye sessions and do not think about anything else other than lord for the next seven or eight days.

18) How are poojas conducted at Sannidhanam? How much money do I need to carry?
Group leadership takes care of all poojas at Sannidhanam. Group costs will be in the two to three thousands range which is usually given to the group coordinator up front. Individual contributions in each of the temples are up to the individual. Howeer it is a safer practice not to carry too much of cash in these trips.

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