Our pillars

GREEN PILGRIMAGE

Caring of God’s precious creation - leave a positive footprint on Earth.

We share a lofty vision of pilgrims leaving a positive footprint on earth. It involves greening of pilgrimage cities and routes. Green Pilgrims respect the local culture, traditions and environment, minimize fuel-based transportation, avoid littering, stay away from plastic and other non-biodegradable materials, and contribute to the destination.

A devotee undergoes severe austerities to purify his mind and body through the 41-day-fasting (vratham). He sleeps not on the bed and uses no footwear to protect his feet during this period. The preparedness that he undertakes before the journey and the arduousness of the divine yatra is also manifest in the way he cares for the environment. Green Pilgrimage is a clarion call to preserve what we have; the bio-diverse Sabarimala forest and our sacred rivers from pollution. It involves developing sustainable strategies and solutions for greening waste, sanitation, buildings, transport, food and accommodation for large pilgrim destinations.

BLUE WATER

A good river is nature's life work in song. - Mark Helprin

Rivers and lakes are ancient sources of water on Earth and are vital for us and wildlife. In the last century, two thirds of the world's precious wetlands were lost. The river systems that have sustained civilization after civilization are facing grave threats now than ever before. We are about to face complex and possibly, irreparable water stress. It’s high time each one of us played our part to save our rivers from pollution.

Pamba and its allied rivers are considered sacred by Sabarimala pilgrims. Devotees perform several rituals on the banks of the River. They revere the river water and believe in its cleansing powers. Let’s be responsible, trustworthy and honest to water.

RED CARPET

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Mahatma Gandhi

For people who live in and around Sabarimala, being of service to the pilgrims used to be second nature. But recent studies show that there is a significant variation in the level of satisfaction among the pilgrims. Fleecing of pilgrims by overpricing low quality food and facilities and community divisiveness towards pilgrims may be the reason. We should bear in mind that Sabarimala pilgrimage contributes to economic growth, employment and local development. The onus is on us to attract, engage and support the pilgrims. By establishing and following responsible host practices, let’s strive to create a welcoming destination image.

EKTA CULTURE

There is no envy, jealousy, or hatred between the different colours of the rainbow. Because each one exists to make the others’ love more beautiful. - Aberjhani

Sabarimala is truly a melting pot of different faiths and cultures and has so far been able to preserve its commingled identity. It’s apt to quote Swami Vivekananda who expounded religious pluralism beautifully: “As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.” The colours of the rainbow are different, yet they stay together to create the awe-inspiring spectacle. Different rivers originate in different places yet in their quest to be one with the sea unites them. Let’s look up to Sri Ayyappa and Vavar who helped each other. The millions of devotees who perambulate the Vavar mosque while Muslims offer their prayers is the best example of a beautiful Ekta culture and it’s right here. In Sabarimala. Let’s be guardians of it and strive to preserve it.