What Makes Even the Russians Go on a Pilgrimage to Sabarimala?
It is a gross exaggeration to call the recent visit of twelve Russians to Sabarimala the ultimate capitulation of Marxism Leninism to the Indian Mythology, but the event has opened a rare and unique travel experience to people from all over the world who seek exotic adventure of a different kind.
If you are not a woman of menopausal age and iare willing to do a spiritual penance for 41 days, abstain from eating meat and enjoying sex in your thoughts and life, let your hair and beard grow uncut and lead a Spartan existence, then you can venture in to this life changing trip to the Sabarimala which more than 50 million Indians of all religions already make every year!
For the team of Russians from Moscow led by Induchoodan, who made this trip more than fifteen times and who practices Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, this unique pilgrimage to Sabarimala has probably come to mean what it does for millions of Indians:
A spiritual journey riddled with mortal dangers the arduous preparation for which require sacrifice of comforts and self purification, an atonement which render the strength and support to face difficulties of everyday life, an enjoyable way to gain the inner peace and joy attained through much harder practice of yoga prescribed by the Hindu religion.
Sabarimala is a hard to reach hill amidst the lush forests of the western ghats of Southern India, which finds its mention in the several thousand years old Indian Epic Ramayana. It was approachable until recently only by arduous trekking through thick forest and hilly terrain for fifty kilometres. For the people of central Kerala, the annual pilgrimage to the temple in Sabarimala dedicated to Lord Ayyappan, an amalgam of ultimate preserving and destructive powers in the Hindu Mythology had been a part of social and religious life, with communal and harmonising influence, for several centuries. A number of celebrities and high profile personalities who made the pilgrimage in the recent past have spread the unique pilgrimage experience to the rest of India, with explosive growth in the numbers of people who make the visit every year.Continued on the next page