MUMBAI: Amrita TV’s Saranapadham is a quest for spiritual salvation to Sabarimala, along a sacred path never traversed before, covering the history of the temple from the first installation of the presiding deity, traveling through centuries in time with the Pandalam royal family, Manikantan, Vavar and delving into the legends and lore, faiths and beliefs, rites and rituals related to the most famous Sastha temple in the world.
Complementing the religious fervor of the faithful during the Mandalalm pilgrimage period, Saranapadham beads together historical details, practical information, Ayyappa devotional songs, Sastha temple travelogues into a rosary of facts which will be telecast every weekday at 5 pm in the evening till Makravilakku on January 13th on Amrita TV.
The episodes go back to the mythological belief that the Sastha prathishta was done by none other than Parasurama in Mathangamala, as one of the five 'panchashastha' temples erected by the sage 5000 years ago, making it one of the earliest constructed temples in the country; narrates the exploits of the dacoit Udayanan and his horde of desperados who destroyed the shrine and shattered the idol, the Pandalam dynasty who adopted it as their guardian deity, the era of Manikantan or Ayyappa who unified the Vaishnavities and Shaivities, his inseparable companion Bavar who crossed the ocean in an Urus from Arabia, Veluthachen, instrumental in enrolling Manikantan in Kalari to master martial arts and the defeat of Udayanan by Manikantan and his friends, the punaprathista of the idol and so on.
On an informative plane, Saranapadham captures the amazing experiences of staunch Ayyappa believers, Guruswamys who have completed a century of pilgrimages to Sabarimala, near death accounts where faith alone saved the lives of devotees, narrow escapes from tigers on the prowl in the dense undergrowth, early films on Swami Ayyappa and accounts of the risks undertaken by the crew who braved thorns and stones to shoot the film on location decades ago; entertains with songs from the Ayyappa devotional albums of MG Sreekumar, Sharreth, Madhu Balakrishnan ; gives practical informationon the traditional trek routes to the shrine via Erumeli, Vandiperiyar and Chalakayam, the geographical remoteness of the temple nestling in the middle of 18 mountains surrounded by dense forest, the stopovers enroute to the sanctum, the importance of the sacred Pampa, spiritual discipline required for the vritham, Lord Ayyappa as a symbol of secularism and religious amity etc.
Body and mind cleansed by 41 days of severe austerities, while the black clad Guruswamys trek up the steep inclines of Sabarimala toward spiritual realization, Saranapadham acts as a metaphorical journey inwards, to an affirmation of one’s own belief in the Eternal.