You are hereJourney to Pamba
Journey to Pamba
Climbing up the “Azhutha Medu’, the pilgrims reach the top at the northern end of a small plateau. This place is called “Udumpara Kottai”. Many pilgrims have their night halt there. There they do poojas and bhajans. Many pilgrims take ash from hearths there and smear it all over the body, from head to foot. “Bhoothanatha” is believed to be the presiding deity there and the Bhoothaganams are supposed to dance in and around all fires, lit up there and so the ashes are their Prasadams. Besides, the wood burnt there is all medicinal. This “Prasadam” is believed to be a curative for epipsy. Coconuts and camphor are also offered there. The Ayyappa Seva Sangham has arranged for the supply of spiced boiled water to the pilgrims at “Udumpara Kottai”.
Moving further, the pilgrims reach the southern end of the plateau. It is called “Inchipparakottai”. There, the presiding deity is believed to be “Devi”. There also some pilgrims have night halts.The next important place after Azhudha is the Inchipparakota where there is Kotayil Sastha shrine. Pilgrims offer prayers here and break coconuts. From here, the pilgrims descent the slippery path carefully. The descent ends at Karimala thodu (canal) with Azhutha hill on one side and Karimala hill on the other.
After Inchiparakottai, the descends begin. At the foot of the hill, the place is called “Mukkuzhi”. It is so called because, to the north of the track of the spot, there were three big pits dug, forming a triangle to be covered with thin planks and strewn over with sand and dry leaves to catch elephants. Now only one pit is clearly seen. Many pilgrims have night halts at “Mukkuzhi” also. There is another route, though a little longer, from “Azhutha” to “Mukkuzhi”. This circumscribes “Azhutha Medu” on the northern side and takes you to “Mukkuzhi”. The pilgrims going by this route can avoid climbing up and down the “Azhutha Medu”, though they have to walk a little longer.
From Mukkuzhi is a long trek till they come to “Elavan Thavalam” where they can have a halt if they want. Then they go on to “Puthu Cheri” and “Karivalam Thodu”. Now-a-days many pilgrims halt at Karivalam Thodu though formerly none ever halted there. Leaving Karivalam Thodu, the pilgrims proceed to the foot of Karimalai, climbing seven terraces, they reach its top. Many have a night halt on the top of Karimalai. Pilgrims do poojas and bhajans there.
On the top of Karimalai, there is a perennial spring, believed to be the result of a thrust of the Lord’s arrow into the ground, to find water for His following. The spring is now a well-walled, six feet well, with steps to go in and come out. It is now covered with planks. The water in the well is now taken out, well boiled and spiced and distributed among pilgrims by the Ayyappa Seva Sangham.
Karimala is the abode of elephants which visits the Karimala canal to drink water. Pilgrims light the aazhi (campfire) to protect themselves from wild animals and cold weather. Karimala hill consists of seven levels and is climbed in stages. As the ascent of 5 km is difficult the pilgrims continuously chant saranams. On top of Karimala the terrain is flat suitable for the pilgrims to rest. It is interesting to see the Nazhikkinar - a well within a well with fresh spring like water. There deities of Karimalanthan, Kochukaduthaswami and Karimala Bhagawathi.
Climbing down Karimalai, you come to the right bank of the river “Pampa”. Walking past Cheriyanavattam “Valiayanavattam” you reach “Pampa”, wehre all pilgrims halt for one day at least, if not more.
Pampa is the most important and holy spot on the way to Sannidhanam. It is here Lord Ayyappa was found by King Rajasekara. The Pampa River is as holy as the Ganges. The Pampa water purifies one from curse and evil.The pilgrims absolve themselves of all sins by dipping in the Pampa. They do poojas and bhajans there. They do religious rites to propitiate their departed ancestors. They feed as many people as possible. They give away clothes and money as much as possible.
From Azhutha Hill to Karimalai all flora, consisting of gooseberry, gainut etc are curatives of phlegm troubles. A night stay in that atmosphere is also desirable.From Karimalai to Sabarimalai, all floras consisting of Rudraksham, Bhadraksham, Akil, Sandal etc. are curatives of pile troubles. All water you get there flows over beds of iron.