Nature awaits Sabarimala pilgrims at the Pullumedu forest path


Sabarimala: Trekking through the Pullumedu forest path offers an unforgettable spiritual experience for the Sabarimala devotees, as the charming sights of pristine nature purifies their minds. The small hills carpeted with green grass, beautiful woods, the clear waters of a brook and the sweet fragrance from the wild flowers truly manifests a pantheistic charm around this place. However, this pilgrimage season, the number of devotees who choose this forest path, has significantly dwindled. Less than 500 people have reached Sabarimala, this year, through this beautiful path.

When Pamba was completely submerged in the recent floods, the tantri and other devaswom officials had trekked through the Pullumedu to the holy shrine, carrying bunches of paddy for the niraputhari ceremony. Devotees can travel through this area only by following the strict instructions of the forest officials, as it comes under the Periyar tiger reserve.

One can reach the 'sathram' from Vandiperiyar in a jeep. However, the devotees have to trek on bare feet through the forest path to reach sannidhanam. Sathram is located in the Seethakulam valley, which is 14 km away from Vandiperiyar. This area comes under the Azhutha forest division. The devotees can spend the night at the Subramania temple. They would be allowed to enter Pullumedu only after 6 in the morning. Similarly, the devotees won't be allowed to enter sannidhanam from Pullumedu after 1.30 pm.

There is a distance of about 12 km between sathram and sannidhanam. The Uppupara forest office is situated just 6 km from here. Lush green meadows and steep hilly areas await the devotees at Pullumedu. Herds of wild elephants, bison, barking deer, Indian giant squirrel and langur can be spotted at the forest paths.

It was near the Uppupara forest office that the Pullumedu stampede, which killed 102 devotees, happened in 2011. However, this place is much more calm and peaceful now. At Uppupara, the forest path diverges into two. The path which leads to sannidhanam is through the Thannithatti check dam. There is huge rock here, from where the blissful sight of the holy shrine of Sabarimala can be viewed in all its glory. Once the mist clears, the temple complex and other buildings in sannidhanam and also the walk – way from Saramkuthi too can be clearly seen. Hailing the holy name of Lord Ayyappa, devotees tread through Podamplavu, Urakuzhi and Pandithavalam to finally reach the sanctum sanctorum.