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The world renowned Mandir of Lord Ayyappa is situated atop Sabari Hill - Sabarimala - in the Western Ghats of Kerala. This ancient temple attracts millions of pilgrims from all over India and across the world. Sabarimala today is to countless pilgrims irrespective of caste, creed, faith or social status, a source of peace and Harmony.

Lord Ayyappa, "Ishta Devatha" of Keralites is an "Avathara" of "Sastha" who is the son of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Hara (Lord Shiva) and is known by many names - Dharma Sastha (who chastises and leads to righteous living), Taraka Brahman (the deliverer), Kaliyuga Varadan (the protector from the evil propensities of Kaliyuga) and Sarva Roga Nivarana Dhanwantari Murthi (who cures all diseases). Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi says : "The puranas contain instances of Narayana assuming a feminine charm capable even of attracting the austere mind of Shiva. When this merciful charm of Narayana and the serene jnana of Shiva combined, an effulgent light was the outcome. Out of this Tejas was born Ayyappa, also known as Ayyanar, Sastha or Hariharaputra".

Lord Ayyappa took his human form on the soil of Kerala, where he has been loved and worshipped for centuries. Sabarimala is situated in Pattanamthitta District. According to the legend, Lord Ayyappa was born to fulful a mission of annihilation of Mahishi, a demoness who causes destruction of the pious. For this He had to take a mortal form and live as an earthly being. It was for this Lord Ayyappa was born. As a baby He was abandoned on the banks of the river Pamba where he was found and brought up by the King of Pandalam who was longing for a son. The divine boy named Manikandan grew up as a Prince and performed his ordained deeds and, having fulfilled that mission, merged himself with the idol of Sastha of Sabari Hills.

The Keralites wherever they go and live build temples and install thier "Ishta Devatha", the Lord Ayyappa who took the Avathara to annihilate "Mahishasuri", the buffalo faced demoness and to protect the people from the evil propensities of the "Kaliyug" (the Iron age) when the moral values have degraded to such an extent that the people are prepared to adopt any means to achieve their personal selfish ends, thus spreading mistrust, cruelty and icurable diseases.

After the annihilation of "Mahishasuri" and on the successful completion of divine drama, the Lord decided to recide on the sacred land, the "Sabarimala" in Kerala, where the great Tapaswani, "Sabari" was given darshan by Lord Rama and "Moksha" by Lord Ayyappa.

Keralites are privileged to be born in this sacred land ("Punyabhumi") where a number of principal Avatharas of Almighty ("Sarveswara") have either taken place or were associated with it - "Vamana Avatharam", "Narsimha Avatharam", "Parasurama Avatharam", and "Ayyappa Avatharam", took place in Kerala. Lord Shree Rama during his "Vanavasa" and wandering in search of Mother Sita reached the banks of sacred Pampa River, which is considered the sacred Ganga of the South because it originates at the lotus feet of the Lord at "Ponnambalam". There the great 'rishis' did abhishekam' to the Lord after seating him on the 'Ratna Simhasanam' in the "Ponnambalam", which was created by their 'Tabobala'. The Lord did 'Prithiru Karmas" and met "Anjaneya" (Hanuman), the Rudra Avathara of Lord Shiva and gave Darsan to Sabri, the great Tapaswini. Lord Krishna had also visited Kerala in search of Crest Jewel, the "Semanthakam" fought with "Jambavan" and finally took away two jewels with Him - the "Semanthakam" and "Jambavathi", the daughter of Jambavan, who is one among the right principal cosorts of Sarverswara, Krishna.

WHY WORSHIP LORD AYYAPPA

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