Holy Trek to Sabarimala Temple
The first stage of the journey is the preparation of the travel-kit known as ‘Irumudikkettu'. lrumudikkettu is reminiscent of Manikanta's trip to the forest for fetching leopard's milk. It is a twin-pocketed cloth bag carried by the pilgrim on his head with one pocket in the front and the other at the back. Only those who bear Irumudikkettu are eligible to climb the holy flight of eighteen steps (Pathinettampadi), leading to Sannidhanam, the sacred seat of the lord. This bundle binds the worshipper with the worshipped. It is such a tight tie that the devotee and the devoted are no more separated.
The front pocket of the bundle is filled with materials for worship - the coconut filled with pure ghee, dried rice, camphor, incense sticks, parched rice, rice flour, jaggery, turmeric powder, betal leaf, arecanut, kanikkappanam (money) etc. and the pocket at the rear contains articles for personal use. The front part is considered divine. It represents good turns of the pilgrim and the rear one his sins. Guruswami is privileged to perform the solemn ceremony of preparing the lrumudikkettu until it is placed on the head of the devotee. As soon as the bundle is placed on the head Saranamanthram 'Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa' is called out aloud and the single-minded journey towards Sabarimala starts. Invariably the journey is conducted in groups. The traditional route is Erumeli -Kalaketti -Azhutha -Karimala Pampa- Sabarimala.