Akhila Bhuvana Deepam Bhakta Chittabdha Pooram, Suraganapathi Sevyam Tattvamasyadhi Lakshyam, Hari Hara Suthameesham Tharaka Brahma Roopam, Shabarigirinivasam Bhavayae Bhoothanatham.

SABARIMALA LORD AYYAPPAN A HISTORICAL REALITY.

Sabarimala Dharmasastha Temple,the most famous and sought after shrine of Ayyappa devotees, the world over , the only one where the deity is identified with Ayyappan is believed to have been consecrated by Lord Parashurama as the third among the five depicting Dharmasastha in the various ashramas of life.At Kulathupuzha He is worshipped as Balakan or a little boy,at Ariyankavu as a Kumaran or youth accompanied by his consort Pushkaladevi ,at Achenkoil as Grahasta or the householder flanked by Poornadevi and Pushkaladevi ,at Sabarimala as a Vanaprastha immersed in caeseless meditation,on the verge of sanyasa and at Kanthamala or Ponnambalamedu as a sanyasin.

The earliest reference to Sabarimala can be found in the Ramayana, as Mathangamala where Mathanga muni’s hermitageis believed to have existed.Later his disciple Shabari did penance here,and that spot is revered today as Shabaripeetam.It is also believed that Shabari was consumed by her Yogagni or the fire of her penance,at the spot where the old Bhasmakulam stood in Sannidhanam.The earliest reference to the birth of Shasta can be found in the Skanda Puranam,from the Palazhimathanam or the churning of the ocean of milk story ,whence the Saiva Vaishnava powers crystalize into the effulgent form of Shasta .

Shasta is Jyothiswaroopan,one without form.Parashurama depicted Shasta in thehuman form at the five temples consecrated by him and assigned female forms to his powers or shaktis.Our ancients always depicted powers of the formless God as females and the Godhead himself as male.Similarly the Gnana sakthi Iccha sakthi and Kriya Shakti of Shasta came to be depicted as His wives Poornadevi,Pushkaladevi and Prabhavathi and His Ajna sakthi was depicted as His son Satyakan.

The palazhimathanam story,the subsequent birth of Shasta,His stay at Kailasa,His advent on earth,the Pandala Raja finding Him on the banks of Pamba,His subsequent association with the Pandalam Kingdom, Slaying of Mahishi ,His bringing the tigresses’ milk from the forest and revelation of the purpose of his birth to the Pandalam Raja are all well known to devotees for any elaboration here.

It is here that we need to understand the historical significance of Lord Ayyappaswamy.The story of Lord Ayyappaswamy that we are familiar with today is an admixture of three stories which has made it difficult to separate one from the other.It is believed that Shasta had two distinct and different avatharams both centering on Sabaimala and Kanthamala,they being Manikandan and Ayyappan at different points of time,the avatharam of Manikandan shrouded in antiquity and the avatharam of Ayyappan relatively recent,in the sense it occurred some 300 to 350 years ago,the details of which are hidden behind myriad little known stories.Surprisingly,the historical accounts of Ayyappan whose real name was Aryan Kerala Varman,the centuries old of life story of Manikandan and the puranic account of Dharma Sastha are all blended into a single story of Ayyappan,which we are all familiar with and narration here would be an exaggeration of sorts.

It is with this aspect in mind that we need to understand the historical Lord Ayyappaswamy whom we all adore and worship,and ,who at a point of time in unrecorded history walked upon this earth in flesh and blood.All we have of Him having lived amongst us are a few fortunate families with whom He mingled,a few places sanctified by his divine feet and ofcourse the Sabarimala Temple, in which he took great pains for its punapratishta after it was marauded and defiled by Udayanan the forest brigand.

It is believed that Aryan Keralan ‘s divine incarnation as the 2nd avatharam of Sree Dharmasastha took place sometime after Thirumalai Naicken ascended the throne of the erstwhile Pandya Kingdom of Madurai.Thirumalai Naicken ascended the throne in 1623 A.D. All we can infer from the information gathered from old Guruswamies by word of mouth and from scholars like the Late Dr. S.K. Nair,who was Head of the Department of Malayalam at the University of Madras,and who had authored a historical novel on Lord Ayyappan in 1960 ,hitherto out of print, after nearly 15 years of research ,is that Lord Ayyappaswamy was born possibly in the first half of the 17th century that is between 1600 and 1650 A.D.

When the Naiks were reigning Madurai,historians opine that chaos ruled over parts of the modern day southern Kerala,and parts of southern Tamilnadu especially in Tirunelveli and adjoining areas.Forest brigands used to come in hordes and plunder areas and disappear with the booty into the dense forests..The people in these unfortunate places were living in constant fear.The small Kingdom of Pandalam was one such place.Udayanan,a feared and cruel forest brigand seeking legitimacy for his acts wanted to establish matrimonial alliance with the Pandya Raja of Pandalam.When he found the Raja unwilling ,he kidnapped the Raja’s neice Mayadevi in one of his surprising onslaughts.At around the same time,when Udayanan failed yet again in annexing the then prosperous town of Nilackal,after innumerable attempts,he was advised by his advisers that Nilackal failed his plans time and again due to the copious blessings of Sabarimala Dharmasastha,who was its guardian deity.It was then that Udayanan directed his ire at the Sabarmala Temple,defiled it and broke the idol of Dharmasastha that ages ago Lord Parashurama had consecreated and killed its melshanti,a Namboodiri brahmana from Malabar.With the cause for the prosperity and invincibleness of Nilackal removed,he annexed thevillage with little difficulty in no time. The melshanti’s young son JAYANTAN escaped unhurt,and vowed to avenge his father’s death,and rebuild the defiled Dharmasastha shrine at Sabarimala.

When Jayantan heard of the pandalam attack by Udayanan and his marauders,he immediately journeyed to Karimala Kotta or Karimala Fort were Udayanan was stationed.He immediately caught Udayanan’s attention,as the brigand had a penchant for talented young men.Jayantan was well trained in martial arts,and ,one fine day escaped with the princess Mayadevi to Ponnambalamedu,where the couple married as per the divine intuition of Sree Dharmasastha.It was here that a brilliant and a radiant infant Aryan Kerala Varman was born.Jayantan was Aryan’s guru in Vedas,Shastras and martial arts.At the age of 16,Aryan Keralan was sent by his father Jayantan to Pandalam to meet His Highness,inorder to stabilize Pandalam,and most importantly to make arrangements to do the Punapratishta at the Dharmasastha Temple at Sabarimala.When Aryan Keralan set forth to Pandalam among other easily identifiable things were the SHARAPOLIMALA AND THE ERIKKUMPOOMALA,two distinct jewellery of the Pandalam princesses’. Later,both these necklaces found their way into the Nettur petti,part of the Thiruvabharanam box to be anointed to the Dharmasastha idol at Sabarimala.A palm leaf manuscript carefully penned by Aryan’s father Jayantan Namboodiri addressed to the Pandalam Highness was sent along with Aryan,explaining the purpose of Aryan’s visit to Pandalam.Aryan Keralan was believed to have reached Pandalam on the day when the annual kalari festival for selecting the best kalari exponent was in progress.

It is believed that when the 16 year old Aryan reached Pandalam,it was more than 17 years since the princess of Pandalam was abducted by Udayanan the forest outlaw of Karimala .Since then the Pandalam kingdom had come a long way,whence they had hired a martial arts expert from Kadathuwayanad or Kadathnad whom they called Kadutha,who later came to be known as Valiya Kadutha,and was given a special place of honour on the right of the Ponnupathinettampadi by Lord Ayyappaswamy himself.Kadutha,at the outset scouted for talent among boys in the age group of ten and twelve years of age and suceeded in setting up many kalaris along the length and breadth of the land.Kadutha’s intention was to have atleast one male member from every family in the Kingdom being enrolled in the kalari,wherin Pandalam would have sufficient soldiers in case of an emergency.Kadutha from the very beginning had ensured that there was annual kalari examinations every year.The day Aryan Keralan arrived in Pandalam,the 15 th Annual Kalari Examinations were to take place. Every year the annual kalari exams were conducted on the day the pandalam princess was abducted.During those times six kalaris were prominent in the kingdom of Pandalam viz, the Thalapara Kalari,Injipara Kalari,Pulikottu Kalari,Kandanmedu Kalari Pashupara Kalari and Melepara Kalari.All these six kalaris were led by six brilliant teenagers Thalapara Kalari by Krishnan,Injipara Kalari by Raman,Pulikottu Kalari by Keshavan,Kandanmedu Kalari by Govindan ,Pashupara Kalari by Narayanan and Melepara Kalari by Parameshwaran.These six brilliant kalari exponents were considered to be the SIX RATNAS OR SIX JEWELS of Pandalam kingdom.Prizes and citations were given away after the annual kalari examinations ,but on the 15th Annual Exams,there was also a move to select the commander in chief of the Pandalam army from among the six best mentioned above.

When Aryan arrived in Pandalam,He immediately set forth to the place where the annual assessment of Kalari skills were in progress to take audience of His Highness,who was also a keen judge at the Kalari assessment centre.As soon as Aryan Keralan met His Highness,after the customary salutations,handed him the palm leaf manuscript that Jayantan Namboodiri had addressed to His Highness.When His Highness finished reading the manuscript,he looked overjoyed ,got up from his seat and warmly embraced Aryan Keralan exclaiming AYYANAE APPANAE,and that name stuck Aryan Kerala Varman,from then on till this day—AYYAPPAN.It should be remembered that only Pandalam Raja knew the real identity of AYYAPPAN,and none else,even the Raja’s consort was in the dark during Ayyappan’s stay at Pandalam which spanned to just around a year,of which 3 months were spent at Cheerapanchira ,and another 2 to 3 months at Alangad.The fact was the social conditions of the time did not allow the Raja to reveal the identity of his nephew who was abducted by a forest brigand.In those days in such an unfortunate eventuality,the abducted girl was considered dead and her last rites were conducted for the sake of her family’s honour.

The prelimanaries were over and the six of the best were selected to be pitted against one another.In the combat that ensued among the six,none won and none lost.Kadutha then grouped Raman and Krishnan seperately and pitted the remaining four in pairs against them.After a gruelling combat,Krishnan gave up.Raman on the other hand stood his ground and routed his opponents.The large crowd which had gathered to witness the combat,got delirious and started cheering for Raman.Some among the crowd shouted out ‘RAMAN KOCHUKADUTHA” OR RAMAN THE LITTLE KADUTHA,which meant the Pandalam kingdom had found another Kadutha in the form of the little Raman,and that name stuck Raman for the rest of his life.Kochukadutha became Lord Ayyappaswamy’s closest confidant later .

It was at the moment that Kochukadutha was declared victorius that Ayyappaswamy arrived at the venue,and the Pandalam Raja after having convinced himself about the identity of the youngster,asked him to test his skills against Kochukadutha.The youngster immediately agreed,and, Kochukadutha was hardly perturbed as he was proved the best in the land in the contest that had just concluded.In the ensuing combat,the brilliant youngster floored Kochukadutha in no time,that Kochukadutha accepted defeat ,literally stunned.Kadutha,the trainer of the kalaris,too was shocked that his best bet was beaten by an unknown youngster.Kadutha immediately challenged the youngster for a one to one combat,which was cheerfully accepted by the youngster.In the combat that ensued Kadutha Asan knew that not only the youngster was a special talent,but he was a divine talent too,and withdrew from the contest without either of them winning or losing.The Pandalam Raja was overjoyed at the youngster’s performance and exclaimed that it is he that should becomethe King and rule Pandalam .The crowd then cheered AYYAPPAN,AYYAPPAN,ELAVARACHAN AYYAPPAN,meaning Ayyappan,Ayyappan,heir apparent Ayyappan.

Aryan Keralan,the unknown heir apparent of the Pandalam royalty had arrived.Few knew him as Aryan Keralan.He was known as Ayyappan,who had arrived from nowhere and had all of a sudden found favour with His Highness for some mysterious reason only known to His Highness.From the time Ayyappan arrived inPandalam,his main aim was to reorganize and strengthen the Pandalam army ,so that it could hold fort against any rogue attack on its soverignity,and, to renovate and reconsecrate the Dharma Shasta idol at Sabarimala that had been destroyed for more than a decade.

During Ayyappan’s days at Pandalam ,Kochukadutha was his most trusted lieutenant always by side like his veritable shadow.Ayyappan and Kochkadutha toured the length and breadth of the land and inspected and apprised all the Kalaris under the guidance of Kadutha Asan or Valiya Kadutha ,the Kalari Guru.Another innovative step which Ayyappan took was to organize the tribal warriors and make them part of the Pandalam army to fight Udayanan ,as He fully well knew how strong Udayanan was.This coupled with the fact of the blind trust the King had in Ayyappan did not go well with the other powers that be in the Pandalam Palace.In those days,admitting of tribals as warriors in the mainstream royal army was unthinkable,and,also the fact that the other power centres in the palace tried hard as they could to find out Ayyappan’s caste but to no avail.These two factors coupled with pure jealousy of the youngster’s skill and talent,set those opposed to Ayyappan finding ways and means to get rid of him.

It needs to be remembered that right from the beginning ,since Ayyappan’s arrival at Pandalam,only the Raja of Pandalamw was fully aware and conscious of Ayyappan’s true identity.None in the nobility or even the Queen of Pandalam was aware of who Ayyappan really was.Since the Raja knew of Ayyappan’s identity, and he was childless,he wanted Ayyappan to be made the crown prince,and his successor come what may.Moreover he gave free hand to Ayyappan to revamp the Pandalam army to make it competitive enough to withstand attacks from rogue forces.But,AYYAPPAN’S principal aim was the punapratishta at Sabarimala more than anything else.For this revamp of the Pandalam army was a must,moreover galvanization of additional forces was also a necessity.With this in mind,Ayyappan set out along with Kochukadutha and visited all Kalaries(martial arts centres) under the Pandalam kingdom and gave necessary instructions.

In those days Pirate attacks were common in the coastal areas.Vavar or Babar was believed to be pirate with the halo of a Robin Hood.Vavar had previously attacked and plundered nearby areas of Pandalam.Ayyappan decided to take Vavar head on .During one of his strolls along the Purakkad beach near Alapuzha,he spotted a pirate ship advancing to the shore.In no time Vavar and his pirates arrived on the shore,and as usual an argument ensued been Ayyappan and Vavar,wherein Vavar challenged Ayyappan to test his skills in archery.Immediately Ayyappan aimed his arrow at the flagmast of Vavar’s ship,the arrow missed the target fell on the sands,Vavar had hoodwinked Ayyappan through his magical skills.This led to delirious laughter among Vavar and his pirates.Ayyappan was initially taken aback,but quickly composed himself and shot another arrow aimed at the first arrow,which in a moment brought both the arrows at Vavar’s feet.Vavar was stunned.He had underestimated the 16 year old.Vavar then challenged Ayyappan for a one to one combat,Vavar armed with a sword and shield and Ayyappan with a churika and a shield.The duel is believed to have lasted 3 ½ nazikas,that is around 86 minutes.Incidentally 1 nazhika is 24 minutes.This duel ended in a stalemate.Vavar was struck by the divine grace of the youngster half his age.They promised to remain friends for life.

Cheerapanchira near Muhamma was a famed martial arts centre well known far and wide.The local Brahmin chieftain had specially bought in these Kalari exponents from North Malabar near Badagara.They were famed for their skill in a form of martial art called Poozhiangam,wherin the practicioner when surrounded by his enemies,used to suddenly swivel on heel which would throw up a cloud of dust blinding his enemies rendering them immobile momentarily,whereupon he would launch a blinding attack and overpower them.This skill or trick which was known as ‘adavu’ in Malayalam was taught only in Cheerapanchira and was extremely difficult to master.The ‘ASAN” or master during times was Kumara Panicker.Some scholars opine that his name was Chenna Panicker.Cheerapanchira Kalari followed assiduously the middle path,not siding with any particular chieftain or lord.Their only condition was that the skills in martial arts would only be imparted to seekers from ‘KARAPPURAM’ as the kingdom was known then ,and not to those from elsewhere.Since Pandalam did not enjoy bilateral relations with ‘KARAPPURAM’ it was difficult for Ayyappan to get admitted into the kalari.

Ayyappan set out to Cheerapanchira to master Poozhiangam.By the time he reached near the vicinity of the Kalari,he was too tired.He took rest in a coconut grove,when he met another youngster slightly younger to him.The youngster introduced himself as Arthungal Velutha.Ayyappan introduced himself and asked for the Cheerapanchira Kalari.Velutha revealed that he was an alumini of the kalari,but Ayyappan would find itdifficult to be accepted into the kalari as a student as the Kalari catered only to the people from the ‘KARAPPURAM’. The divine countenance of Ayyappan won Veltha’s admiration and respect.Anyway,he assured Ayyappan that he would try hard to get Ayyappan admitted.Together they went to the kalari.By the time they reached the Kalari it was dusk,where Ayyappan was introduced as Sabariyar his older cousin by Velutha to Poomkodi also known as Lalithambika,Panicker’s brilliant daughter,who was in charge temporarily as Panicker had some urgent work to attend to.Lalithambika then quickly cross questioned Velutha as how a christian could have a hindu cousin.Velutha quickly asserted that Sabariyar family had not changed their native faith.Ayyappan and Velutha were asked to stay there for the night and meet the Asan or Teacher Panicker the next morning.Panicker as expected was circumspect on admitting Sabariyar,but his daughters and Velutha’s recommendation tilted scales.Ayyappan as Sabariyar was admitted.Within a month Panicker knew that Sabariyar was a special talent.In no time he became Panicker’s trusted and favourite student .Within 3 months Poozhiangam was mastered.Cheerapanchira Panicker had not taught Poozhiangam even to his talented daughter.All in all Ayyappan stayed at Cheerapanchira for roughly 3 months.It was during this period that Panicker’s daughter came of age.In the ensuing celebrations an extremely sweet porridge made of mainly of jaggery among other ingredients was served which became Ayyappan’s favourite.This sweet dish is a precursor to the famous Aravana Payasam which became the most important offering for Ayyappan at Sabarimala.It is believed that Panicker’s daughter expressed her desire to marry Sabariyar,who politely refused making it known that he had taken a vow of celibacy or brahmacharya for life.Before Sabariyar left Cheerapanchira,he presented a KADAKAVALA OR A TYPE OF BANGLE To Poomkodi as a token of his stay at at the Kalari.In later years this bangle used to be taken by the Cheerapanchira entourage to Sabarimala for makara vilakku.Later it is said that this kadakavala was sent to Pandalam to be a part of Ayyappan’s thiruvabharanam.Now this bangle is possibily lost in the sands of time.Sabariyar had to leave Cheerapanchira suddenly without informing anybody due to the news conveyed through Kochukadutha of an impending attack on Pandalam and also the Queen’s sudden illness.This did not go well with Panicker.

Ayyappan along with Kochukadutha arrived in no time at Pandalam from Muhamma,where Cheerapanchira was located,At Pandalam plans were adrift to get rid of Ayyappan among the powers that be who had managed to influence the queen.Agni Sarman Namboodiri who was the palace priest had bribed the family physician to prescribe an improbable medicine for the queen’s stomach ailment.The medicine prescribed for the cure was tigress’ milk in which a herbal tablet was to be mixed.On enquiry of the queen’s illness and the panacea for it, Ayyappan was told of the prescription.Ayyappan called for Agni Sarman who deftly left the place on a lame excuse.Ayyappan and Kochukadutha met the royal physician .When cornered he spilt the beans.Agni Sarman was the brain behind the plot.The queen feigned stomach acheon the crooked advice of Agni sarman. Ayyappan then firmly told the physician to prescribe the correct remedy,but what happened in the confusion was the medicine administered to the queen turned harmful to her pregnancy as she was carrying.Luckily due to the grace of the family deities or PARA DEVATAS,nothing untoward happened.The physician was swiftly banished from the kingdom.

Ayyappan then directed his energies towards additional reinforcements for the Pandalam army to fight Udayanan who had become a power centre himself .With this in mind he journeyed towards Perumbavoor and Alangad.In those days Perumbavoor was the thefiefdom of the Kartha of Kodassery.During this epic journey,he was accompanied by Arthungal Velutha,who had become more like his younger brother.A stranger would indeed mistake them for brothers.When Ayyappan and Velutha arrived at Perumbavoor,they were warmly received by the Kodassery Kartha.It is believed that Ayyappan and Velutha stayed at Perumbavoor and enjoyed the hospitality of the Kartha,while they scouted for talent from among Kalari exponents.It was under a banyan tree that Ayyappan used to meditate in the evenings and also used to interview prospective kalari warriors.It is on that very spot that stands the sreekovil of the Perumbavoor Dharmasastha Temple,housing the idol of Dharmasastha in one of the rarest postures.A short distance away is the Pulayakudy Sastha Temple,where the idol of Ayyappan’s brother is consecrated .It is said that the brother drank arrack, mingling with the common folk and hence his temple was consecrated separately.In fact it is actually Arthungal Velutha who is consecrated at the Pulayakudy Sastha Shrine.

After Perumbavoor Ayyappan and Velutha left for Alangad,which was a small fiefdom with 6 Kalaries or Martial Art Training hubs, renown all over .All of Alangad’s kalaris had excellent reputation The Alangad Raja had cordial relations with the Pandalam kingdom and it was only natural that Ayyappan approached Alangad .The Alangad Raja was only too pleased to help Ayyappan in his dharmic mission.It is believed Ayyappan and Velutha stayed at Alangad for nearly 2 to 3 months in training themselves and selecting capable and talented kalari warriors for the battle with Udayanan of Karimala fort.It is at the very place that Ayyappan set His holy feet that stands the hoary Chembola Kalari from where the pettapurapadu or the starting for the Erumeli petta starts every year.From among the talented warriors,he selected Kampilly Panicker to lead the Alangad warriors.Kampilly Panicker was the best kalari exponent in Alangad at that time.Mullassery Nair who was close behind was also honoured to be an important part of the contingent. On the first of the Malayalam month of thulam (normally the first of thulam falls on Oct-15 or 16), the year of which is not precisely known, Ayyappan and Velutha accompanied by Kampilly Panicker and Mullassery Nair and in the presence of Alangad Raja and another chieftain Njalur Kartha addressed the Alangad warriors on the very banks of this holy Periyar river near Aluva.It is not coincidental,but very much His will that this holy Ayyappa Sangamam should take place on these holy sands.In his address Ayyappaswamy detailed his plan of action.He directed all the warriors to observe vritham with strict brahmacharya,vegetarian food and spartan lifestyle.He also directed the possible date by which they should assemble at Erumeli.

Ayyappan and Velutha,returned.Ayyappan to Pandalam and Velutha to Muhamma.At Pandalam Ayyappan gave finishing touches to the assemblage of Pandalam Kalaris under the leadership of Raman Kochukadutha.This collection of kalaris or the Pandalam army per se came to be called Ambalapuzha Yogam later.Next,he paid a lightning visit to Cheerapanchira,to get his guru’s blessings.Unfortunately the Cheerapanchira Panicker and his family were away in Badagara to worship the family deity.Only Arthungal Velutha was available at Cheerapanchira,Ayyappan as proof of his coming to meet his guru left behind his sword and kacha ,which is preserved till date.

In the meanwhile Ayyappan makes all arrangements and accompanies the Ambalapuzha yogam to Erumeli.The Alangad yogam also assembles at Erumeli.In the meanwhile Udayan brilliantly kidnaps Poomkodi from Cheerapanchira and tries to frame Ayyappan.Initially,the Panicker of Cheerapanchira falls in the trap and turns against Ayyappan,whereby he takes his warriors to confront Ayyappan at Erumeli.It is only when the enraged Panicker comes to Erumeli that Ayyappan becomes aware of the foulplay by Udayanan.When Ayyappan tells the truth and pleads his innocence,Panicker realises his fault and patches up and promises to accompany Ayyappan to Karimala to fight Udayanan.At Erumeli,Vavar joins Ayyappan’s forces ,and together they proceed to Karimala.

At around this time a rogue she buffalo was causing havoc in what is today known as the little temple town of Erumely.Hardly a few villagers lived in the village which was situated on the fringe of the nearby dense forests.Frightened people started leaving the village,and hardly a few families were left.The rogue she buffalo had a penchant for male inhabitants of the village,who were gored to death especially if they ventured out at night.The plight of the few villagers who were surviving with utmost fear fell into the ears of Ayyappan.One day Ayyappan reached Erumeli at dusk.He found a little house where only an old grandmother was staying.He approached her and asked her if He could stay overnight.The grandmother warned the youngster of the impending danger.The confident youngster brushed it aside nonchalantly.The grandmother offered the youngster some puffed rice for dinner,which the lad happily relished.In the dead of night when the old lady was fast asleep theyoungter left the house,and,in a matter of hours killed the rouge she buffalo.He is believed to have cleaned His bloodstained sword at the nearby Rudirakulam.Ayyappan, before He left the house had left His spare sword as a reminder of His visit.This little house is today known as Puthenveetil in Erumely,where the sword and the small room where the Lord stayed is still preserved to this date.Puthenveetil Pillais also known as Perisseri Pillai were Saivavellala Pillai migrants from the Pandyan country specifically brought to Erumely by the Pandalam Raja.The Petta Shasta temple opposite the Vavar’s mosque in Erumely were built by the forefathers of the present inhabitants of the Puthenveetil.Later,the family handed it over to the Devaswom Board.The place where the rogue she buffalo was killed came to be known as ERUMA KOLLY meaning the place where the buffalo was killed in Malayalam,later it came to be known as Erumely,a corrupted form of Eruma Kolly.

Kochukadutha and Vavar lead Ambalapuzha Yogam,Alangad is led by Ayyappan himself,who surprisingly is unarmed.Cheerapanchira accompanies them as a separate unit in that order.It is precisely this reason why Alangad Yogam do not enter the mosque during the Erumeli Petta ,as Vavar has already left with the Ambalapuzha Yogam.

During the journey through the forest it is the Kampilly Panicker who first called out aloud SHARANAM AYYAPPA,perhaps that was the very first sharanam villi,sharana gosham.The first obstacle on the way was the Kottapadi or the gate of the fortress,which they manage to overwhelm without much difficulty,Next they reach KALAKETTI,where according to the legendary story of Manikandan,Paramashiva,fastened his vahana Nandi on an Anjeli tree,which can still be seen today and watched Manikandan slay the demoness Mahishi.Historically it is the farthest point upto which supplies were brought for Ayyappan’s army on bullocks and bullock carts.After Kalaketti,the army crossed the azhutha from where they picked boulders after their dip in the azhutha and deposited them at Kallidamkunnu.Legendwise,Kallidamkunnu is the place where Mahishi’s mortal remains were interred with boulders.Historically the Injipara fort was separated by a moat,and these boulders were used to fill a portion of it so that the army could cross.Next they reached the Inchipara fort.It is believed that the doors of the fort were broken single handed by Raman Kochukadutha and Krishnan ,and these 2 great warriors were honoured by the Pandala Raja with the 2 kodis or flags that are sent along with the thiruvabharanam box in the kodi petti or the flag box.The army then marches on and finally reaches Pudussery Kanam or Pudussery Thodu.Here a fierce sword duel ensues between Kochukadutha and Udayan’s trusted lieutenant Pudussery Mundan.Finally Kochukadutha slays Pudussery Mundan on the banks of the small rivulet,which since then got its name Pudussery Thodu.

Finally they reach Karimalakotta,once again Kochukadutha takes the lead role in breaching the fort gates.Udayanan taunts from his fortified mansion to belittle Ayyappan’s troops.He tries to use Poomkodi to bargain for Ayyappan’s life.Ayyappan uses his kalari expertise to reach the balcony where Udayanan is stationed with Poomkodi,all decked up like a bride.Suddenly Udayanan waves his sword aimed at Ayyappan’s neck.Poomkodi comes inbetween in a supreme sense of sacrifice and gets killed.Seeing all this Cheerapanchira Panicker faints,never to recover.Vavar and Kochukadutha wage a fierce battle against Udayanan,and soon udayanan’s head is severed from his body by Vavar.Udayanan’s troops run helter skelter,and the way to Sabarimala is cleared once for all of robbers and brigands.

Ayyappan now leads the army enroute to Sabarimala for the punapratishta on the makara samkrama day.First they reach Valiyanavattom on the banks of the Pamba where they camp for a few days.They do Shrardha karma for the dead soldiers and also for their ancestors and on the day prior to departure for Sabarimala,they conduct the famous Pamba sadya with Ayyappan in the lead.

The trek to Sabari begins.After neelimala they reach Appaichmedu from where they throw down rice balls to the unfortunate soldiers who are wounded and beyond redemption.Finally they reach Sabaripeedam,the seat of the sage Shabari, where one upon a time the sage Shabari had meditated ,where Shri Rama and Lakshmana had given her their punyadarshanam, and at Sharamkuthi aal they deposit all their arms.According to the beliefs of the Alangad yogam,Ayyappan disappears from Sharamkuthi.From Sharamkuthi,the soldiers move forward reach the Pathinettampadi and climd it,There is nothing on top .Finally,Alangad Yogam members take initative along with Amalapuzha yogam members to quickly repair the heavily damaged sreekovil.An idol sourced from Pandalam palace reaches in time and Ayyappan’s father Jayantan Namboodiri also called Yogiswaran does the Pratishta,According to a second version,Ayyappan is very much present till the pratishta,after which a huge deafening thunderclap is heard,and Ayyappan melts into nature.In yet another version as soon as the punapratishta is over,Ayyappan in the form of light merges into the idol of DHARMA SASTHA,only the vibrant chant of Sharanam Ayyappa is heard everywhere.