There is immeasurable mystery surrounding the wilderness of the woods. There is silence; we hear the music of the silence and the chirping of the wild birds. As we head towards the holy shrine of the world famous Sabarimala, sacred hymns reverberate in the air. It’s not a cakewalk; the muddy, sloppy terrain adds to the adventurous spiritual sojourn.
Sabarimala is located amid dense forest and mountains of the Sahya range. Millions of devotees trek to the hill shrine every year to have a glance of Lord Ayyappa. One can experience nature at its purest form in the journey through the 8-km trekking path from Pampa.
In our country, spirituality and nature go hand in hand. A journey into the world of wild, far away from the cyber-frenzy world, would help one reinvent him/her or simply marvel at the intriguing beauty of nature. And if it is a spiritual endeavour, it will help purify both mentally and physically. Earlier, reaching Sabarimala was a herculean task as the tiresome journey through the dense forest was so gruelling and it would take days to reach the abode of the Lord. There was a threat of wild animals too. Nowadays, devotees have the option to take any of the three main routes leading Sannidhanam. Devotees from other states usually prefer the tough terrain of Erumeli and Vandiperiyar routes. Journey through the Erumeli route is the most demanding as pilgrims have to cover 61-km hill track on foot through dense forest. The infamous Pullumedu stampede in 2010 occurred in this route.
Those who take Vandiperiyar route, linked to the Kumily-Kottayam road, have to trek 12 km through the evergreen forest to reach the temple. Mostly elderly people use the 8-km Chalakkayam route which is comparatively the easiest. Though the road was actually built to facilitate the Sabarigiri power project 1960, later it was opened for public.