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TEMPLE TIMINGS
Morning  
Nirmalyam Darshanam - 4:30 AM
Abhishekam - 5:00 AM
Ganapathi Homam - 5:00 AM
Usha Pooja - 7:30 AM
Uchha Pooja - 10:15 AM
Evening  
Deepaaradhana - 6:45 PM
Athazha Pooja - 8:15 PM
Harivarasanam - 8:30 PM
The Sanctifying 18 Steps
 

Built on a plateau about 40 feet high, the Ayyappan temple commands a lofty view of the mountains and valleys all around. The ancient temple has been rebuilt after a fire in 1950, consisting of a sanctum sanctorum with a copper-plated roof and four golden finials at the top, two mandapams, the belikalpura which houses the altar, and the flag-staff Replacing the earlier stone image of the deity is a beautiful idol of Ayyappa in panchaloha, an alloy of five metals, about one and a half feet tall.

There are several explanations regarding the significance of the Patinettampadi, but in all of them, the emphasis is on the number 18. One popular belief is that the first 5 steps signify the five indriyas or senses, the next 8 the ragas, the next 3 the gunas, followed by vidya and avidya. Crossing these would take the devotee closer to self-realisation.

Originally it was granite stone of 5 to 6 feet wide. Now it is covered by panchloha in the year 1985. The steep steps are so important and holy, no one can climb them without fasting for 41 days and carrying the holy irrumudi on head.

There are many mythology associated with the holy Patinettampadi. Some believe the eighteen steps denotes the 18 puranas. Some say that 18 weapons with which Lord Ayyappa destroyed the evil denotes the 18 steps. Others are of the belief that the first five steps denotes the indriyas (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin). The next eight steps signifies the ragas (tatwa, kama, krodha, moha, lobha, madha, matsraya, and ahamkara. The next three steps signifies the gunas (satwa, rajas and thamas). The seventeenth and the eighteenth denotes vidhya and ignorance.

The Patinettampadi can be used only twice - once for ascending the temple and once for descending below leaving the hill. Before ascending or descending the steps, pilgrims break coconut as an offering to the steps. One needs to have the sacre Irumudi on head while going up or down the 18 steps. While descending the steps the devotees climb down backwards facing the sanctum sanctorum.

One who climbs the Patinettampadi for 18 times shall plant a sapling of coconut in Sabarimala.

 
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
 
 
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Sree Ayyappan Temple, Patel Gundappa Block, J.C. Nagar (M.R. Palayam), Bangalore, Karnataka, India - 560 006.