Kerala’s renowned hill shrine, the Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, visited by lakhs of devotees from all over India and abroad, will now be known as Sabarimala Sree Ayyappaswamy Temple, the temple administration has said. In a major decision, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which governs the holy shrine, has issued an order changing the name of the temple to Sabarimala Sree Ayyappaswamy Temple. In official records, the temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and situated in a dense forest in Pathanamthitta district, is known as Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple.
Board authorities said the decision to change the name of the temple was taken at the meeting of the board on October 5. “There are many Dharmasastha temples under the Devaswom Board, but Sabarimala is the one and only holy seat in the world where Sree Ayyappaswamy presides. That is the reason why crores of devotees visit Sabarimala every year to have darshan of Lord Ayyappaswamy,” the board officials said.
The journey to the temple, which is open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, is through difficult paths in the forest as vehicles can go only up to Pampa. The temple attracts pilgrims not only from the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but also from other parts of the country and abroad. The Travancore Devaswom Board, an autonomous body, is entrusted with the task of administrating 1,248 temples, including Sabarimala, in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore.