Lord Ayyappa or Ayyappan is a popular Hindu God worshipped across India but mainly in South India. The incarnation of Ayyappan is very special as he was born out of the union of Lord Shiva and the enchantress Mohini, who is regarded as the avatar of Lord Vishnu. Hence he is also known as ‘Hariharaputhra’ which literally means the son of both Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Haran (Lord Shiva). Some of the other popular names of Lord Ayyappa include Sree Dharma Shasta, Hariharaputhran, Iyyappan, Swamy, lrumudi Priyan, Sabarigiri Vasan, Pamba Vasan, and Manikandan. Sree Dharma Sastha Temple or Sabarimala Temple in Kerala is the most famous Lord Ayyappa temple in India, visited by more than 30 million devotees every year.
Ayyappa Main Mantra
Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa
Meaning of the mantra "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa" is "Oh Lord Ayyappa! I seek refuge in you"
Appearance of Lord Ayyappa
Lord Ayyappa is seen sitting on his ‘peethom’ with his right hand showering blessings to his devotees. Lord Vishnu gifted the new born deity with a little bejeweled bell necklace and so the name Manikandan came into existence. He wears a huge garland around his neck and appears in a very calm posture. The Vahana (Vehicle) of Lord Ayyappa is Tiger.
How Lord Ayyappa is worshipped
There are strict religious adherences to receive Lord Ayyappa’s blessings. First the devotees should observe a 41 day penance before visiting him in the temple. They should keep themselves completely away from all physical pleasures and family ties and live like a ‘Brahmachamri’. The devotees, on coming to Sabarimala Temple should have bath in river Pampa, adorn themselves with three eyed coconut and ‘aantha’ garland and then take the steep climb of the 18 steps to Sabarimala Ayyappa Sannidhanam. There is no difference in caste creed or religion to visit Sabarimala Temple. Sabarimala remains open for 41 continuous days starting from the Malayalam month of Vrischikam to Dhanu) (mid November to mid January) and also on the first five days of all Malayalam months. The most important day is the ‘Makarasankrathi’ where it is believed that a fire called ‘jyoti’ appears to worship Lord Ayyappa.
Another special activity of worshipping Ayyappa is the “Thiyattu”. People who do ‘Thiyattu’ are called the Thiyadis. One who does Thiyaddi for Lord Ayyappa is called Thiyadi Nambiar. Here a ‘Kalam pooja’, kalam pattu and Thottampattu are organized. In Kalam Pattu Thiyadi Nambiar tells about the story of Lord Ayyappa. All the Thiyyadi Nambiar families consider ‘Thiyadikkavu’ as ‘Ayappan kavu’. Worshipping the ‘Kalam’ is similar to worshipping Lord Ayyappa in temple.