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The main temple to the deity Ayyappan – also known as Hariharaputra, Maṇikaṇṭan, Sartavu, and Śāstā (from Skt. śāstṛ, teacher) – is at Sabarimala (“Sabari Hill”), which is situated in Ranni-Perunad in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. The annual pilgrimage to this site takes place during the Malayalan month of dhanu (Dec–Jan).

The uniqueness of the Ayyappan cult lies in its essential masculinity. Ayyappan is the penultimate brahmacārin, vowing a strict code of celibacy (s…

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Sekar, Radhika, “Ayyappan”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2018

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