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November 17,2011
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Ayyappa bhakthas start their sabarimala yatra after wearing mala and observing the vratha (austerity). To have a darshan of sabarimalai ayyappan,and to go to sabarimala the only route available was the dense forest route commencing from Erumeli. For worshipping Ayyappa to go through this route was considered proper once upon time. The 56 km route starting from Erumeli upto sabarimala is known as Peru vazhi pathai. If once goes through this peru vazhi pathai, one’s body and mind gets purified. This is the route followed by Pandala Raja to see Ayyappa.

Erumeli: All Ayyappa bhakthas going to sabarimala gather together here first. Here there is a temple for Dharma sasthabuilt by Pandala Raja Rajasekara Pandiyan. Dharma sastha appear here with bow and arrow in his hands as if he is ready to go for hunting.
Vabar temple: Opposite to Erumeli Pettai Sastha temple the Pallivasal(mosque) of Vabar the friend of ayyappa is situated.Ayyappa bhakthas visit this pallivasal, offer prayers to Vabar and receive vibhuthi {sacred ash) prasadam.
Pettai thullal: This is the place where ayyappa killed the buffaloe headMahishi (demon).Known as Erumai koli(place where bafallow was killed) later becme known as Erumeli. After killing MahishiManikandan danced on her dead body. Pettai thullal is a formof ritual conducted here by bhakthas in memoy of this incident. Smearing various colour paste all over the body, bhathas wear leaves of various plants, carrying a small wodden plankaccompanied by beating of drums,and singing the lines swami thinthakathom, ayyappa thinthakathom repeatedly, go around the sannidhi of Vabar and then proceed to Pettai dharma sastha, break a cocanut, show karpoora (camphor) arathi, and commence the peruvazhi route yatra.

Perur thodu: The first place one comes across in the peru vazhi route is Perur thodu. This is a small riverlet. It is situated at a distance of3 km east of erumeli. Bhathas can take a bath in this riverlet, take a small rest and then continue their journey.

Kalai katti: Climbing a small hillock, getting down thereafter, pass through a amall forest area, one reaches a beautiful garden known as kalai katti. Lord Shiva who came here to bless his son manikandan in appreciation of his act of killing mahishi, tied his bull in this placeand hence the name kalai katti. There is a small temple for lord shiva. Walking one and half miles from this place one will the reach the banks Azhutha river. Thrown by Maniandan, it is believed that the deady body of Mahishi fell on the banks of this river. Puranas say so.

Azhutha river: As soon as the arrow fell on mahishi’s body all her bad qualities changed and she got good qualities. She cried overwhelmingly and seek the pardon of ayyappa. The tears that rolled down from her eyes, it is belived is the azhutha river. After taking a refreshing a bath, one should carry a small stone. Walking 2 miles from there one should a small hillock known as azhutha medu. One will reach a place called Injiparai kottai. There after a place called kallidum kundru comes.Ayyappa has buried the dead body of mahishi here, and placed several big stones here. On the basis of this act of Ayyappa, bhakthas keep the stone they carried from azhutha river here. While placing the stone here bhakthas pray that all their own sins are absolved. Mahishi is a symbol sin. Stone carried from azhutha river is placed here with the thought that the buried symbol of sin should not raise its head again.

Kavalar ayyappan:  At the of of azhutha hillock is situated Injiparaikottai. In the temple lord ayyappa appears as “devan Vyakrapathan” and offers his blessings. Vykram means tiger.By keeping the tigers under his control, he remains a protector of bhakthas who visit him.On a philosophical note we can get a different meaning. Man considers the pleasures he gets in this world as a big one. To enjoy the pleasures arising out og women, wealth,dwelling, he is prepared to commit sins.These sins are compared to tigers. If one keeps these tigers{sins}are kept under control, good thoughts wll emerge out of the mind and man will folloe bhathi marga. After worshiping the ayyappa hereand walk further one will come to a place known as Mukkuzhi. Goddess Mariamman is residing here. After worshiping this godess and walk further one will reach a place known as Karivalmthodu. This place is evenly paced. One can stay here, take rest, partake food, and proceeding further one has to cross Puducherry.

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