Pathinettampadi 18 Holy Steps of Sabarimala Temple & its Significance

There is great importance of Pathinettampadi or the 18 Holy Steps of Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala. Pathinettam Padi, the Holy 18 steps, that leads to the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, Kerala. 

Pathinettampadi 18 Holy Steps of Sabarimala Temple

Symbolically called as Ponnu Pathinettampadi, these steps are covered with ‘Panchaloham’ which is a special composition of 5 metals - Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron and Tin. According to the custom, those who undergo the penance for 41 days and those who carry the sacred Irumudi on their head are only allowed to climb the Pathinettampadi. 

Pilgrims start to climb the Pathinettampadi by keeping their right foot on the first step. Ascending these steps is considered as an important opportunity for every devotee as the 18 sacred steps symbolize the eighteen stages to be traversed to attain “'Moksha” or salvation.

Significance of Pathinettampadi, the 18 Holy Steps of Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple

Significance of Eighteen Steps of Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple 

Though there are a number of reasons about the significance of the Patinettampadi, the highlighting factor is on the number 18. Traced back to the Vedic age, the first Veda, which is believed to be protected by Lord Brahma himself, had 18 chapters. Later on, it was divided by Veda Vyasa who created the four Vedas - Rigveda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharava Veda. Each of these Vedas had 18 chapters and Veda Vyasa also wrote 18 puranas and 18 upa-puranas. 

It is also to be noted that the Mahabharatha (the great epic of Ancient India) and Bhagavad Gita (one of the important Hindu scriptures) have 18 chapters and the Kurukshetra war lasted for 18 days.

Things to Remember Before Climbing 18 Holy Steps 

The pilgrims break coconut as an offering, before climbing up and down the steps. It is necessary to carry the sacred Irumudi on the head while going up or down. Also, the devotees climb down backwards, facing the sanctum sanctorum. It is the custom of the devotees to plant coconut saplings, if they climb the Pathinettampadi for 18 times.


  1. can i have the tamil lyrics of thirukural?


  2. Hi Revathy, share your email ID s than I can share the thirukural PDF with you

  3. Hi Can i know the 18 steps speliality in the sabarimalai,

  4. what are the behind stories of 18 stpes? could u please tell me the details of each one ................... with regards veeru


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