Thursday, May 14, 2009


Last Saturday night, I got a call from my Guruswami, with a surprise message that the Thiruvaabaranam box (Jewel box of Lord Ayyappa) of Sabarimala will be in Chennai on 10th May. Happy news added to it was that the box would be kept at an office belonging to our friend and a fellow pilgrim to Sabarimala, Mr. Jayakumar located on Tharamani Road and we can have dharshan between 7 am and 9 am. What a way to start a Sunday!

Woke up a bit early and informed many of my friends and fellow devotees and went to Mr. Jayakumar’s office, M/s Kanya Homes on Tharamani Road. Mr. Jayakumar has been successfully promoting various residential projects in Chennai. I was a bit late there and was told that the sacred box arrived at around 8 am.

Went in to the office where the holy box was kept. The office was so amazing with wonderful interiors with the sight of Thiruvaabaranam box kept right at the middle of the office majestically. The whole place looked very divine with the presence of the box. The whole office was decorated with full of flowers and a Ganapathi Homam was arranged.

The box is being taken to Bangalore via Chennai for reducing the whole weight of it. Every year, the Thiruvaabaranam (sacred jewels) for the Lord is carried from Pandhalam to Sabarimala by a single person belonging to the Pandhala Raja family. It is carried throughout by foot and takes 3 full days for them to reach the temple.

The box is completely made of sandalwood topped by silver with lots of designs and engravings. The box weighs heavy with the weight of the wood used. So it is taken to Bangalore to chip down the weight of the box without altering the size. It was said that the box was kept in many places like Sri Kapaleeswarar temple etc, for the people to have dharshan.

Mr. Jayakumar and his colleagues were blessed enough to have that holy box for couple of hours at their office premises and perform Ganapathi Homam. And I was blessed enough that I know him and have traveled with him to Sabarimala once and also was informed by my Guru at the right time.

The box is about 5 feet length and 3 feet width completely made of Sandalwood. Wonderful carvings are done all over the box. On the top portion Gaja Vaahana (Elephant, Lord Ayyappa’s carrier) is beautifully etched on silver and fixed. It is made in such a way that the entire image of the elephant is embossed and the two tusks are completely protruding out from the surface.

I had an opportunity to touch and feel the box and offer Namaskarams. I’ve seen it in Sabarimala from a distance amidst lakhs of people, where the box would be carried on the head and accompanied by the Brahman Kite (Garudan) throughout the way till it reaches the sanctum. It was definitely a blessing to have dharshan of the box at arm’s reach to touch, feel and offer prayers.

For more on Sabarimalai Sri Ayyappan click here and Sabarimalai Pilgrimage trek click here.