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Nirmalya Darshanam - 5:00 AM
Ganapathi Homam - 5:30 AM
Usha Pooja - 7:30 AM
Uchha Pooja - 10:15 AM
Closing - 10:30 AM
Deepaaradhana - 6:45 PM
Athazha Pooja - 8:15 PM
Harivarasanam - 8:30 PM
Lord Ayyappan
Story of Lord Ayyappan
The Birth of Lord Ayyappa

Traditions say that Lord Mahavishnu disguised himself as Mohini (Mohini is one of the 25 avatars of Vishnu found in the Hindu Puranas in which Lord Vishnu takes the form of a beautiful woman) for getting the nectar from the Asuras who took it from Devas. Lord Shiva went to see Lord Mahavishnu, who was in Mohini’s disguise, and surrendered to her beauty. Thus Sree Dharma Sastha (Dharmasastha) was born out of their union and he grew at Kailasam (Mount Kailash).

Adoption of Lord Ayyappa

According to legends, the offspring of Pandya dynasty belonging to Chempazhanattu Kovil were given the right to rule the country of Pandalam, about eight hundreds years ago. The direct successor of this dynasty was King Rajasekara who was very courageous. Though the people were living prosperously during his rule, the king was very unhappy that he had no children to inherit his kingdom. The king and his queen prayed Lord Shiva for a child.

The prayers of the king were answered by Lord Shiva who asked Dharmasastha to take the incarnation of Ayyappa (also spelled Iyyappa). When King Rajasekara went for hunting in the forest, Ayyappan took the form of a baby with a golden chain and bell around his neck and placed himself near the Pamba River. The king who came for hunting happened to see the child. He was advised by a Sanyasi (saint) to take the child to his palace. The Sanyasi said that the child belonged to Kshatriya dynasty and he named the child Manikandan. The Sanyasi also added that when the child completes twelve years, the King would know his divine history and after stating these, the Sanyasi disappeared. Everyone in the kingdom was very happy except the Diwan of the Kingdom who was thinking that he would be the next crown after Rajasekara.

After some days, the queen gave birth to a male child who was named Rajarajan. The king planned to crown Manikandan as he was the elder son and ordered Diwan to make arrangements for it. But Diwan hated this and he took various attempts to destroy him. However, he failed in all his attempts to kill Manikandan. Finally, he approached the queen and told her that as the queen had her own son, it was not virtuous to crown other person. He asked the queen to pretend as if she is suffering from severe headache and stomach pain. The Diwan also added that he would make the physician tell that only tigress milk should be brought to cure the Queen. They planned that Manikandan would go to the forest to bring the milk and he would be in danger by the wild animals.

The queen started to act according to Diwan’s plan, as if she was suffering from severe headache and stomach pain. The physician brought by the Diwan stated that it could be cured only by applying the tigress’ milk. Manikandan approached the king and requested him to let him go to the forest to bring the milk. The king was not interested to send Manikandan to the forest, but he realized that he had been trapped with no other choice, and allowed him to the forest.
Ayyappa's Battle with Mahishi

Manikandan, on his way to the forest, came to know the violent behavior of Mahishi (a female demon) in the Devaloka. He went there, fought a battle with Mahishi and Manikandan threw Mahishi down to earth from Devaloka. She fell on the banks of Azhutha River where Manikandan fought with her again.

At the end of the battle, Manikandan ascended on the chest of Mahishi and danced violently, the impact of which was felt on the earth and Devaloka. Mahishi realized that the divine power was none other than the son of Hari and Haran, and died. And hence Lord Ayyappa was also called Mahishi Mardhanan (one who killed demoness Mahishi).

Ayyappa’s Return with Tigress

Manikandan then proceeded to the forest to get tigress milk. Lord Shiva appeared before him and said that he helped the Devas by killing Mahishi and there was another important work to be completed. It was to cheer up King Rajasekara who was very concerned about him. Lord Shiva asked him to go the palace with Devendran in the form of a tiger. Manikandan mounted on the tiger and all female devas in the disguise of tigress and male Devas as tigers, started to the palace.

At that moment, the same saint who appeared earlier arrived again at the palace and explained the uniqueness of Manikandan to the king. Manikandan returned from the forest and told the king that he could get the queen cured with tigress milk. King Rajasekara fell at his feet and requested to forgive him for whatever happened without his knowledge

Ayyappa - The Lord of Sabarimala    

Manikandan told the king it was the time for him to return to Devaloka as the task for which he took the incarnation was completed. As Lord Ayyappan was very much pleased by the devotion of the king, he asked what boon the king wanted from the Lord. The king at once replied that he would like to raise a temple in his memory. He asked a suitable place for the temple. Manikandan threw an arrow which fell at a place called Sabari, where a Sanyasini (a female saint) called Sabari undertook penance during the period of Lord Rama.

As graced by the Bhagwan King Rajasekara completed building of the temple with eighteen steps to reach it. When the King was thinking how to put Dharmasastha's figure in the temple for darshan to devotees, he recalled the words of the Bhagwan, the River Pampa was a holy river as River Ganga, Sabarimala was a holy place as Kasi. Dharmasastha sent Parasuraman to Sabarimala who carved the figure of Lord Ayyappa and installed it on the day of Makarasankranthi, the day on which the Makara Jothi appears.

Bhagwan Manikandan, had made it clear that he would grace only those devotees who offer Dharshan after performing Vritha for fortyone days keeping themselves isolated from family desires and tastes and leading a life like Brahmacharya, thinking of good things always, and that while coming for his darshan, they shall carry the holy irumudi on their heads, as the Bhagwan did when he went to the forest to fetch tigress milk, and bathed in River Pampa raising slogans of Saranam and climb the eighteen stairs.
Every year lakhs and lakhs of people throng to Sabarimala irrespective of caste or creed and adorn themselves with garlands and irumudis, chants slogans on Lord Ayyappa, bathe in holy river Pampa, climb up the eighteen steps and get the grace of Lord Ayyappa, the Dharmasastha.

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