Legends and Mythology
Lord Ayyappa was born by the union of Lord Shiva with Mohini (incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Legend has it that the divine child was found by the ruler of Pandalam on the banks of the river Pampa. The king and queen called the child Manikandan and brought him up as their own. But when the queen had a child of her own, she planned to get Ayyappa killed. She pretended to be ill and sent Ayyappa in search of tiger’s milk, which she said, was the only cure for her illness. She expected him to be killed by the tigers but was surprised to see Ayyappa return to the palace riding on a tiger, with the other tigers following him.
Lord Ayyappa’s divinity was revealed to one and all after the episode. The King immediately requested Ayyappa to suggest a suitable place for building a temple for Him. The Lord aimed an arrow which fell at a place called Sabari. The King later built a temple for lord Ayyappa at this place.
Mount Sabari is named after an old woman, mentioned in the Hindu epic Ramayana, who attained salvation after her meeting with Lord Rama.