Pandalam Ayyappa Temple - Kerala

Pandalam Ayyappa Temple is a popular Ayyappa temple in Kerala which is situated at Pandalam in Pathanamthitta district. Lord Ayyappa is the presiding deity of this temple who was born out of the union between Lord Shiva and the mythical Mohini, the avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Pandalam Ayyappa Temple

Lord Ayyappa had his human sojourn at the Pandalam Palace as the son of the Pandalam King. Hundreds of devotees flock to the Pandalam Ayyappa Temple to worship Lord Ayyappa especially during the pilgrimage season in Sabarimala. The devotees believe that Lord Ayyappa will protect them from miseries and suffering in Kali Yuga. Ayyappa is known by different names, Dharmasastha, Manikandan, Bhutanathan, Pandala Raja, and Pamba Vaasan. The unique feature of this temple is its natural procession route around the Sanctorum.


Sabarimala was once under the rule of the Pandalam dynasty which was established around 79 ME (903 AD) by the Pandalam royal family. The Pandalam royal family were the descendants of the Pandya Kings of Madurai who kept on the move for over a century and finally reached Pandalam in 79 ME. And Pandalam was chosen to be the permanent home for the royal family. They established their kingdom at Pandalam with the help of the then ruler of Venad (later Travancore). The King of Pandalam helped Marthanda Varma in conquering the Kayamkulam province. In return for this help, during the expansion of his kingdom, Marthanda Varma did not attempt to attack and conquer Pandalam. The Pandalam dynasty extended to over 1,000 square miles. The idol of Ayyappa was erected in the year 1910. Pandalam Ayyappa Temple was built in the year 1971 and underwent a major renovation. The princely state of Pandalam had even extended up to Thodupuzha in Idukki district. Pandalam was in Mavelikara taluk of Alappuzha district before the formation of the Pathanamthitta district.

Galavamuni had a daughter named Leela who was under the curse of her husband Dathan, reborn as Mahishi, an “asura’ female with the face of a buffalo. Lord Ayyappa killed Mahishi and her curse was revoked and the beautiful woman rose out of the corpse. She thanked Lord Ayyappa and prayed to be with him as his wife. However, the Lord told her that her desire would not be fulfilled as he is a ‘Brahmachari’. But he allowed her to remain in Sabarimala to the south-west of his abode. And she is worshipped here as Malikappurathamma.


  • Pandalam Ayyappa Temple is the family temple of the Pandalam royal family which is situated within the Pandalam Palace premises.
  • As per legends, Lord Ayyappa had his human sojourn at the Pandalam Palace as the son of the King of Pandalam. Hence, during the pilgrimage season in Sabarimala, a large number of devotees flock to the Pandalam Ayyappa Temple to worship Lord Ayyappa.
  • Three days prior to the Makara Vilakku festival, the procession carrying the sacred ornaments of Lord Ayyappa, known as Thiruvabharanam, starts from the Pandalam Ayyappa Temple.
  • The temple is of square shaped and has brass metal roofing.
  • The shrine of Malikappurathamma is situated to the south-west of this temple.
  • The main offerings of this temple are ‘Sharkara Payasam’, ‘Aravana’ and ‘Unni appam’.


  • Makara Vilakku: Makara Vilakku is the most important festival celebrated at the Pandalam Ayyappa Temple. Makara Vilakku is the Jyothi that appears three times at Ponnambalamedu on Makar Sankranti day after the evening pooja. It is believed that the Makara Vilakku was first lit by Parasurama after installing the idol of Ayyappa. The jewellery to adorn the idol of Ayyappa during the celebrations is brought from the Pandalam Palace in a ceremonial procession that starts from Pandalam Ayyappa Temple. The poojas and rituals associated with Makara Vilakku are performed on a sacred platform called Mani mandapam.
  • Onam: Onam is the harvest festival Kerala which is celebrated with joy, harmony and prosperity. It is one of the prime celebrations of this temple during which a large number of devotees gather at the temple to seek the blessings of Lord Ayyappa. It occurs in the month of Chingam which is the first month of the Malayalam Calendar. According to the Gregorian Calendar, it falls between the months of August to September.
  • Vishu: Vishu Festival marks the Astronomical New Year Day. According to the Gregorian calendar, it occurs between the months of April and May. ‘Kani Kanal’ is the main ritual of this day.


  • 4 AM to 11 PM

Dress Code

Traditional wears are the most preferable attire while visiting Pandalam Ayyappa Temple.

Way To Reach

 By Air - Trivandrum International Airport and Cochin International Airport are the nearest airports to Pandalam Ayyappa Temple which are at a distance of 103.2 Km and 134 Km respectively. On reaching the airport, one can hire a cab or a bus to reach the temple.

 By Rail - Chengannur Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Pandalam Ayyappa Temple which is situated at a distance of 14 Km. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a cab, bus or an autorickshaw to reach the temple.

 By Road -  Many state transport buses and private buses are easily available to Pandalam.