Sabarimala is the abode of Hindu deity Lord Ayyappa. Sabarimala is the most visited Hindu pilgrimage place in Kerala. The temple at Sabarimala lies inside reserve forest area of Western Ghats and is sourrounded by 18 hills. The nearest point to the temple till which vehicles can reach is Pampa. From Pampa, the Sabarimala temple is 4km away. At Pampa there is river which has the same name. Pilgrims bath at the Pampa river and start the trek to Sabarimala. It was a jungle trail about a century ago, but now the trail have been developed by the Travancore Dewasom Board. The Board have laid concrete on the trail and have setup stalls along side which provide food and health related facilities. The pilgrimage season is starts on First day of Vrishchikam month of Malayalam calendar and ends on the First day of Makaram month of Malayalam calendar(November 16th to January 16th approx). The temple also opens on the first day of all Malayalam calendar months(around 15th of every English calendar month). The pilgrimage season time is also called Mandalakalam. The pilgrims observe 41 days of intense penance before trekking to Sabarimala temple. At the entrance of the temple there is a series of 18 steps called the Pathinettampadi. Menstruating women are not allowed to enter the temple. So women between 14 and 40 donot visit the temple. Vavurpalli at Erumeli is a muslim mosque named after Vavur a muslim and a contemporary of Lord Ayyappa.
Sabarimala Temple opens on the first day of everymonth in the malayalam calendar. November to January is the pilgrimage season during which also the temple remains open.
Facilities for food and stay are arranged by the Travancore Dewasom Board. The Board provides guest houses, medical aid centers, drinking water facilities etc for the devotees. Other nearby options for stay are at Pathanamthitta, Kumily and Kanjirapilly.
During pilgrimage season direct buses run by KarnatakaSRTC are available from Bangalore to Pampa. KeralaSRTC , KarnatakaSRTC and Indian Railways run direct trains to Kottayam from Bangalore. From Kottayam KeralaSRTC buses are available to Pampa. Route 1 is the shortest and is 550km in distance. Route 2 is approximately 680km long.To reach through Route 1, SETC buses are available till Theni. From Theni KeralaSRTC buses are available to Pampa.