Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Home going. Madurai. Tamil Nadu

Sri Meenakshi temple Gopuram in the background.
He was securing luggages on the roof of the TATA Sumo, going to Andhra Pradesh

Praying.Madurai. Tamil Nadu

Later, after I did the pilgrimage to Sabarimala I did find pilgrims coming back from it. They were from Andhra Pradesh and going home were stopping in temples alongside the road. Madurai was one of those stop. taken in the fabulous Meenakshi temple, praying Lord Hanuman.

Going Away. Pampa. Kerala

End of the road. Pampa. Kerala

Pilgrims are heading toward the bus stand...

Free food. Sabarimala. Kerala

At the end of the pilgrimage, pilgrims get free food from the organisation.

Coconuts. Sabarimala. Kerala

The pilgrimage is beautifully organized. A lot of policemen and sometime they do need to
relax a bit and drink some fresh coconut.

Artificial legs. Sabarimala. Kerala

This man was starting the climb as I was getting down.
He had two artificial legs.

A begger. Sabarimala. Kerala

A lot of people going down the mountain after the celebrations. A begger on the path down.

A saddhu. Sabarimala

Going to Sabarimala, one doesn't see a lot of saddhus. I wonder what the reason is. Anyway, I did find one.

Resting Pilgrims. Sabarimala

A lot of pilgrims sleeping all over the place next to the temple.

Palanquins. Sabarimala.

People having locomotion problems can reach the top of the Mountain where the Temple is using Palanquins.

A colorful rest. Sabarimala

Buying Souvenirs. Sabarimala. Kerala

Offerings. Sabarimala

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Temple. Sabarimala

A view of the golden roofed temple. Sabarimala.
I couldn't shoot an image closer to the temple, it's forbidden.

Waiting. Sabarimala

An Ayappa without legs waiting in front of the 18 steps to reach the temple.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Pilgrims waiting to enter the temple . They will wait a long time.

Resting. Sabarimala

The highlight of the pilgrimage is on the next day, january 14th. ..
Pilgrims are resting everywhere...
a lot of pilgrims...

Fire. sabarimala

More pilgrims during their rituals..

Friday, November 03, 2006


You find plenty of places where to have a quick lunch in Sabarimala.
Next to Lord Ayappa is better.

Coconuts. Sabarimala

When they get to the feet of the temple pilgrims brake their coconuts as offering to Lord Ayappa.
then they are burned..

Water Squad. Sabarimala

It's very crowded and also very hot. The pilgrimage is very well organized considering
the huge amount of pilgrims.

Waiting. Sabarimala

Pilgrims waiting in line to enter the temple.
that day it took 6 hours...


On the way up a father is curing her daughter who had feet problems on her way up. pilgrims are supposed to walk the mountain barefoot.. I did it that way too.

Going up.

A father and his son doing the Pilgrimage together, a nice way to get closer.

Rushing up to Sabarimala

It's an incredible rush at the beginning of the stairs..
People rush to the first temple a temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha..

Ayappa pilgrim. Pampa

Ayappas pilgrims waiting for the Sri Meenakshi temple to open up, and being blessed by Meenakshi, one of the two elephants residing in the temple. Those pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh are back from Sabarimala, they 'll stop one day in Madurai before going back home.

Ayappas. Madurai

Ayappas pilgrims waiting for the Sri Meenakshi temple to open up, and being blessed by Meenakshi, one of the two elephants residing in the temple. Those pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh are back from Sabarimala, they 'll stop one day in Madurai before going back home.

Ayappa. Madurai

Some Ayappa pilgrims praying Hanuman, the monkey god, in Madurai...

Faith. Sabarimala

A older pilgrim climbing the path to the temple in Sabarimala.
He isn't too far from the top.

Ayappa. Sabarimala

Another image, almost exactly like the other one, shot near the Ayappa temple in Sabarimala. You can see people sleeping through the orange dothi.

Start. Pampa

A young boy in Pampa at the starting point of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala for those not doing the 41km on foot.
They will climb 7km to reach the temple, the only temple in India where women aged between 10 and 50 cannot visit.

Ayappa . Tirupati

D. Sreenivasalu is a tailor from Tirupati.
He is praying lord Ayappa before leaving on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
A little shrine under a tree in front of the big temple.

Bus. Pathanamthitta

The last bus for those pilgrims not doing the entire 41 km on foot. They will take a bus to reach Pampa, from where they will start the walk to the top of the mountain.

Venkatesh. Chengannur

I met Venkatesh and Masama, his mother (Two Ayappa Pilgrims) in the bus to go to Chengannur in Kerala. One of the last big city before going to Sabarimala.

Pilgrims. Hampi


On top of the hill near the Hanuman temple in Hampi, known as Kishkinda in the Ramayana. Some Ayappas pilgrims are admiring the beautiful landscape..And Hampi is really beautiful...
Kishkinda was ruled by a monkey king Vali ( Bali is named after him ) who was renowned for his strength and valour.

Ceremony. Sri Sailam

Still with the same group of pilgrims during the puja before they were leaving.. They were travelling by bus to a lot of sacred places in South India.
Sri sailam is one of the greatest Shivaite shrine in India and it constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva.
It's really too bad you can't hear the singing.. SO beautiful..
here is a link to some Ayappa singing:

Posing. Sri Sailam

Those pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh were coming to Sri Sailam to pray, on their way to Sabarimala .
They are devotees of Lord Ayappa. They go through a 41 day penance abstaining from sex, meat and intoxicationg drinks before undertaking the trek up the forested mountain chanting the celebrated three words "Samiye, Saranam Ayappa ( Oh lord Ayappa, I come to thee for refuge.)

Waiting for the train

An Ayappa pilgrim waiting for his train in Tirupati. He is on his way to Sabarimala, Kerala. The bag he is carrying on his head is called a Irumudi, a holy bundle. The two compartment bag contains coconut filled with ghee, clarified butter.

Ayappa . Tirupati

Ayappa pilgrims waiting for their train in Tirupati train station. You can come across those pilgrims in Southern India from November to february.
The pilgrimage takes place in Sabarimala, Kerala. I went there in January. What they have on their head is called Irumudi, a holy bundle.
This was shot on december 1st.