THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is developing a pilgrimage circuit connecting five temples having mythological connection with the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple.
The temples included in the circuit are the Sastha temples at Pandalam, Kulathupuzha, Aryankavu, Achankovil and Erumeli. “These shrines have mythological link with the life of Lord Ayyappa. We wish to propagate the mythology connection with the Lord across the world through this programme,” said TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan.Quoting the legends, Gopalakrishnan said the infant who later became Lord Ayyappa was found from the forest area at Kulathupuzha by the Pandalam Kings. The Pandalam Sastha temple is connected with the royal family of Pandalam, where the Lord spent his childhood.“The Aryankavu temple is connected with the Lord’s teenage. Young Ayyappa stayed at a Sourashtra Brahmin family in Madurai to study archery. It is believed that Lord Ayyappa fell in love with the daughter of his guru. Though their marriage was fixed it had to be put off as the girl’s menstrual cycle began on the day,” he said.The TDB had recently revived the grand ritual at the Aryankavu temple to commemorate the Lord’s wedding that never took place.
The fifth temple at Erumeli is linked with Ayyappa’s fight with the Maravappada and the killing of Mahisha. Later, the pilgrims will be taken through the Azhutha-Karimala forest route to reach Sannidhanam. The TDB will run a luxury bus connecting the five temples. The TDB will take care of the pilgrims’ accommodation during the five-day programme.
“Publicity materials, including pamphlets and DVDs will be circulated as part of the programme. “Ayyappa Porul” a book describing the life, mythology and history connected with Lord Ayyappa will be brought out soon,” Gopalakrishnan said.The current plan is to conduct the programme on all days during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku season and once in other months.
“The pilgrimage is sure to become a success,” he said.