Story behind Pathinettapadi (18 divine steps )
In my early years itself I take ‘Sabarimala Ayyappan’ as Guru, I think I start my sabarimala yatra at age of 5 [ 1977 ] with my father from madurai, now also he is call me to sabarimala ..
The original 18 steps at Sabarimala Steps size is too small ( 1 feet ), we can’t place our foot & same time we want to broke coconut on that step.. ( ie 1st year 1st step , 18th year 18th step , 19th year once again 1st steep ) . The Most of steps are damage …
The holy steps are covered in gold , renovation work was completed in November, 1985 …
Before 1990 ..The Patinettampadi can be used only twice – once for ascending the temple and once for descending below leaving the hill.
Before ascending or descending the steps, pilgrims break coconut as an offering to the steps. One needs to have the Irumudi on head while going up or down the 18 steps. While descending the steps the devotees climb down backwards facing the sanctum ..
Behind Sabarimala temple :
Temple Built on a plateau about 40 feet high, the Ayyappan temple commands a lofty view of the mountains and valleys all around.
In 1950 (In Mithunam 1125 M.E.), at sabarimala the original Ayyappan stone idol and much of the temple were destroyed in a fire. Only The 18 steps to the shrine survived the .
Renovated the temple and consecration was done in the year 1951 with a new idol in Pancha Loha (an alloy of five metals) and also Malikappurathamma, Valiyakatuththa swami, Kochukatuththa Swami and Karuppai Amma were installed during the month of Edava (May –June) by Shri Kantaru Sankararu, the then Thanthri.
We should also remember that under the leaders of Akhila Bhartha Ayyappa Seva Sangam, Maharaja of Pandalam dynasty, P. T. Rajan Madurai and also Madurai Railway group Gurunsamy sri sadagopa ramanujam.
At same time an ‘Ayyappa Jyothi’ was ceremoniously taken around Kerala and Tamilnadu by the devotees for the first time, to generate public awareness, interest and involvement in the temple construction.
This was the first turning point from which the influx to the Sabarimala Temple had started growing many folds especially from the southern states of India . Now It is world’s second largest annual pilgrimage, after Mecca.
Now survived part of temple is Pathinettapadi (18 divine steps)…..