“Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa” (Give me shelter, Lord Ayyappa!) – Popular Hindu Mantra in Malayam
Ayyappa, the name
Ayyappa is also known as ‘Hariharan Puthiran’ or ‘Hariharputhra,’ which literally means the son of both ‘Hari’ or Vishnu and ‘Haran’.
Ayyappa, the son of Vishnu & Shiva
Lord Ayyappan or simply Ayyappa (also spelled as Ayappa) is a popular Hindu deity worshipped mainly in South India.
Why Ayyappa is called Manikandan
Ayyappa is also commonly known as ‘Manikandan’ because, according to the legend of his birth, his divine parents tied a golden bell (mani) around his neck (kandan) soon after his birth.
Why the Gods Created Ayyappa
The legendary story of the genesis of Lord Ayyappa in the Puranas or ancient scriptures is intriguing.
The Worship of Lord Ayyappa
Lord Ayyappa is believed to have laid down strict religious adherence to receive his blessings.
The Famous Pilgrimage to Sabarimala
Sabarimala in Kerala is the most famous Ayyappa shrine visited by over 50 million devotees it every year, making it one of the most popular pilgrimages in the world.
THE STORY OF AYYAPPAN
AYYAPPAN know as AYYAN who belonged to the Vellalar Kulam, was the army chief of the Pandalam royal family. He lived with his uncle Perisseri Pillai of Erumeli, Kottayam dist, Kerala. This was about ten generations ago. Ayyan was instrumental in the defeat of Udayanan, who attacked Sabarimala and tried to demolish the ancient Sastha temple in the thick forest of present Pathanamthitta district.
Meanwhile the Royal family of King Pandya had migrated from Tamilnadu about 800 years back. The King reconstructed the destroyed Sastha temple at Sabarimala with the help of Ayyan, Vavar, a Muslim youth from Kanjirappally, Kadutha, a Nair youth from Muzhukeer, Chenganoor, Alapuzha dist.
During a clash, Ayyappan got killed. His uncle,Perissery Pillai, constructed the KOCHAMPALAM – an old small Sastha temple – at Erumeli, opposite the VAVAR PALLY (MOSQUE), constructed by Muslims in memory of Vavar swamy.
After the demise of Ayyappan people thought that he was the avathar of Lord Sastha and began to worship him. Later Ayyappan and Sastha became synonymous.
Some say that Ayyappan was the son of a Brahmin but Nalankal Krishna Pillai in his book “Mahashekthrangalkkumunpil” states that Brahmins never had the name AYYAPPAN or AYYAN.
In the age old “Elavarsevampattu” it was clearly mentioned that Ayyan belonged to “Vellalar kulam, Near Erumeli, Kottayam, Kerala.There still exists a vellala house called Puthenveedu in Erumely. In the same compound there is a 300 year old, thatched, depleted, mud house, the house of Perissery Pillai, Ayyappan’s uncle and the Vellal Chieftain of Erumeli. There even today one can see the ancient sword used by Ayyappan to kill the monstrous ERUMA- mahisham. The place where the “eruma” was killed became Erumakolly and later Erumeli.
Sabarimala pilgrimers ,Ayyappans, conduct the Erumeli PETTAITHULLAL (Pettatullal is painting the face with colours and dancing with wooden weapons to make one look odd. The essence of this practice is to give up ones ego and surrender to Lord Ayyappa. )This is to commemmorate the killing of mahisham by Ayyan and is celelebrated during the month of December-January every year. “Ayyan / Ayyappan” Pillai is very common name among vellalas of Kottayam, Alapuzha, Pathanamthitta, Idukki and Ernakulam districts of Kerala. A number of Ayyappan kovils were constructed by Vellalas who migrated from Tamilnadu to Kerala e.g. Erumeli, Kanam etc.