Pampa River in Sabarimala

25/10/2011 Journey to Sabarimala

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 Pithrubali at Pampa : On reaching Pampa,the pilgrims,after setting their camps , take a holy dip in the river,Pampa. Many of them perform the rite Pithrubali , the propitiatory rites for the ancestors,expressing their love and regard for those who had passed away. There are specially trained priests who guide the pilgrims to perform the rites.It is metioned in the Ramayana that Sri Rama performed the Pithrubali on the bank of Pampa.The place also gained special importance in this respect after Ayyappa performed the rites for the soldiers,who were killed in the battle against Udayaanan and his horders.

Pampa Feast (Pampa Sadya) : Pampa Annadhanam (feast) and Pampa Vilakku are important rituals followed at the Pampa bank. Pilgrim groups prepare feast with the provisions taken from the Irumudi of the pilgrims. Thousands of pilgrims are fed at Pampa. When a group of pilgrims are ready to fed the fellow pilgrims they display a large papad outside their cottage. It is usually the kanniswamy who are fed first, as they are considered to be Lord Ayyappan himself. After the feast the Guru is honoure.

Pampa Vilakku :

There is festival of light on the banks of Pampa a day before the most important Makara samkrama Pooja. This also commemorates the victory celebration on the banks of Pampa conducted after the defeat of Udayanan. Innumerable camps of pilgrims are illuminated with oil lamps and candles on this occasion. Special floats are made, and placing well-lit lamps in them, they are set afloat in the river. The grand  spectacle of  thousands of such floats moving along the river will linger long in the memory. Besides  this, the rhythmic sounds from the traditional musical instruments and the loud chanting of  ‘Swamiye saranam Ayyappa’ impart an ethereal atmosphere to the whole scene.

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