Pampa (30)

01/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

The pilgrim reaches then the extensive area of the Pampa river bed. The region is also known as Pampa. The Ayyappa lore has it that king Rajasekhara of Pandalam found the child Ayyappa on the banks of this river. The section, Kishkindaa-kaandam of the Ramayana, begins and ends with exquisite description of the scenic beauty around the holy river Pampa, where Sri Rama arrived during his wanderings in search of Sita.

It is believed that Kishkinda, where Sri Rama met his ally Sugreeva was a nearby mountain. While reading the Mahabharatha and the Puranas, we often get wonderstruck at the geographical knowledge and insight of the composers, who with remarkable ease describe vividly the characteristics of the various, even remote, regions of the country. Everywhere in India, from north to south, and from east to west, there are several places associated with Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. There are no spots, even in interior villages of India, where their holy feet have not stepped!

In the highly spiritual Malayalam poem, Adhyaathma Raamaayanam, composed by the 18th century poet, Raamaanujan Ezhuthachan (hailed as the ‘Father of Modern Malayalam Literature’) and famed for its literary excellence and which enjoys the highest demand in Kerala even today, the banks of Pampa are described as: “Pampaa sarasthadam lokamanoharam” – the banks of Pampa are among most enchanting regions in the world.

Flowing zig zag through mountain terrains and dense forests, river Pampa, when it reaches this region, becomes rather straight for some distance, with vast areas of plain land, especially on the Valiyaanathavalam side of the river bank. Here, there are hundreds of camp sheds for the pilgrims to stay. Some of the pilgrims would stay for two to three days in this pious atmosphere on the banks of Pampa forgetting all their mundane affairs and immersing themselves in reading holy texts, prayer and meditation. Formerly, pilgrims used to bring their provisions and cook their own food. Now there are many catering centres at Pampa.

There are a few holy places around Pampa, especially associated with the Ramayana. About a kilometre and half above the river is the confluence of the tributaries, Kallaaru and Kakkaattaaru with Pampa. Near this holy confluence known as Triveni there is an embedded impression on a rock resembling human feet. It is believed to be that of Sri Rama, and is known as Sri Rama-paadam. One has to walk along the river bank beset with dense forests to reach this holy spot, which is located near the K.S.R.T.C Bus Station.

A decade ago Pampa was not accessible by road and pilgrims could go only upto Chalakkayam by vehicles and then had to walk a few kilometres to reach Pampa. Now there is a great flow of pilgrims who come by vehicles direct to Pampa. So Pampa looks like a township, but it is not an all-time inhabited town. Being located in the midst of reserve forests, it is more relevant to the Sabarimala pilgrimage only. It is almost a deserted place except during the pilgrimage season and also for about five days around the auspicious days of Vishu (in April), Thiruvonam (August-September) and for the first five days of each Malayalam month, when the temple remains opened for Pooja-s.

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