But this does not happen at Sabarimala. At Pamba, whether you are rich or poor, healthy , unhealthy, peon or officer, officer or Chairman, it makes no difference. You have to make your way silently and patiently through the queues to have a darshan or view of swami Ayyappa. Nop VIP culture at all.
|Vavar palli ..|
Even though every pilgrim may get just a second or two to see the deity Lord Ayyappan at the Sanniddhaanam, the trip is very rewarding. Encountering the harsh walking through the rough and muddle of the pampa roads on way to Sabarimala, the pilgrimage is one of bearing all hardships and difficulties in life.
A month prior to the pilgrimage all devotees planning to visit the shrine, are compulsorily on a vrath, or fast, not indulging in non-veg food or sexual desires. The pilgrims coming to the place in groups are led by a group leader. The unwritten rule of this group is that nobody coming for the pilgrimage should entertain any negative thinking in his / her mind (women above 50 years are permitted) nor complain of any difficulty or discomfort. Nobody is forcing them to come. So nobody is encouraged to complain about the hygiene, the traffic, food, water, cleanliness, rush, the discomfort, the millions of devotees and the resulting melee, whatever it be. This inculcates a habit of preparing oneself for any difficulties in life, and to weather all discomfort seeking divine help and presence.
It is the only religious place where you can clearly see communal harmony in action. While all across the country, religions are trying to communalise all actions, at Sabarimala, all pilgrims visiting the shrine of Lord Ayyappa also has to visit the Mosque of Vavar, who blesses the pilgrims a safe journey till the shrine. Prof Ramadoss also believes a christian church near the Vavar mosque would have made the concept of communal harmony very much complete.
Previously the river Pampa used to be contaminated by e-coli bacteria but these days police is taking great care to see that the pilgrims get enough place to refresh themselves. Online registering for time to visit the sanctum sanctorum of the temple through the Internet has been a great success. I was told that almost 70% of the people book their darshan time this way.
Were it not for the discipline, hard work and planning of the Kerala Police, this great pilgrimage to Sabarimala would never be such a great success over the years. These policemen may be from any religion, inside the temple premises they do not wear footwear and work wholeheartedly for the success of this annual pilgrimage.