14 Facts About Ayyappan


Ayyappan, called Dharmasastha and Manikandan, is a Hindu deity popular in Southern India, He is considered to be the epitome of dharma, truth, and righteousness and is often called upon to obliterate evil.

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Ayyappan is referred to as Ayyappa, Sastavu, Hariharasudhan, Manikandan, Shasta or Dharma Shasta and Sabarinath.

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Iconography of Ayyappan depicts him as a handsome celibate deity doing yoga and as an epitome of Dharma, who wears a bell around his neck.

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In South Indian portrayals, Ayyappan images show him riding a tigress, but in some places such as Sri Lanka he is shown as riding a white elephant.

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Ayyappan's popularity has grown in many parts of India, and the most prominent Ayyappan shrine is at Sabarimala, nestled in the hills of Pathanamthitta of Kerala.

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The alternate proposal is supported by the alternate name for Ayyappan being Sastava, a Vedic term that means "Teacher, Guide, Lord, Ruler".

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Ayyappan is known as Hariharasudhan – meaning the "son of Harihara" or a fusion deity of Hari and Hara, the names given to Vishnu and Shiva respectively.

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Ayyappan'siconography is usually shown with a bow and arrow upraised in his left hand, while in his right he holds either a bow or a sword diagonally across his left thigh.

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Ruth Vanita suggests that Ayyappan probably emerged from the fusion of a Dravidian god of tribal provenance and the Puranic story of Shiva and Mohini's interaction.

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Sometimes the story is slightly different or extended, such as the younger son of the queen is not disabled, Ayyappan does bring tigress milk for the queen riding on a tiger, but after doing so Ayyappan renounces the kingdom, becomes an ascetic yogi and returns to live as a great warrior in the forested mountain.

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In one of the stories, Ayyappan is portrayed as a child of a priest whose father was murdered by the fearsome outlaw Udayanan.

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Ayyappan then makes a daring rescue, attacks and kills evil Udayanan.

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Some of Ayyappan temples are believed to have been established by the Vishnu avatar Parashurama.

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Ayyappan has roots in Kerala, but his influence and popularity have grown among the Hindus in South Indian states.

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