It is believed that Lord Ayappa, he would grace only those devotees who offer Dharshan after performing Vritha for fortyone days keeping themselves isolated from family desires and tastes and leading a life like Brahmacharya, thinking of good things always, and that while coming for his darshan, they shall carry the holy irumudi on their heads, as the Bhagwan did when he went to the forest to fetch tigress milk, and bathed in River Pampa raising slogans of Saranam and climb the eighteen stairs.
Lord Ayyappa had his human incarnation as the son of the King (Rajasekhara) of Pandalam, Kerala.During his hunting expeditions, he heard the wails of a child on the banks of the River Pampa, moved to the direction of the voice, he found a helpless infant there with a golden bell(mani) tied around his neck(kandan) hence the name Manikantan. King accepted the child as God's gracious gift. As per the stories Ayyaappa is believed to be born out of the union between Lord Shiva and the mythical enchantress Mohini, who is regarded as an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, Ayyappa is also known as 'Hariharan Puthiran' or 'Hariharputhra,' which literally means the son of both 'Hari' or Vishnu and 'Haran' or Shiva.Later the Rani(Queen) gave birth to a son.
Both the boys grew up in a princely manner. Ayyappa or Manikantan was intelligent and excelled in martial arts and the knowledge of various "shastras" or scriptures. He surprised everyone by his superhuman powers. however the king regarded Manikantan as his elder son and decided to crown him as the Yuvaraja.
When it was time to name the heir to the throne, King Rajashekhara wanted Ayyappa or Manikantan, but the queen wanted her own son to be the king. She plotted with the diwan or minister and her physician to kill Manikantan. Feigning illness, the queen made her physician ask for an impossible remedy-lactating tigress's milk. When no one could procure it, Manikantan volunteered to go, much against his father's will.
Days later Manikantan entered the palace precincts riding a fierce tigress and followed by a pack of her cubs. The schemers were frightened and confessed their plot. They were convinced of his divine origins, and prayed to him to be with them for their own salvation and for the safety of the kingdom. Immediately Manikantan disappeared. The king took a decision that he would not eat anything till Manikantan came back. Then Manikantan gave a darshan to the king.
Filled with emotions of happiness, grief, fear, wonder and 'Bhakti' (devotion to God) and self-surrender, the king stood praying for the mercy and blessings of Manikantan. He repented that he could not fully visualize the truth of the divine powers of the Lord and repeatedly requested him to forgive him for behaving as if he were his son only. The Lord lovingly embraced the King who prayed to bless him by freeing from ego and the worldly life of birth and rebirth and granted Moksha (salvation). He told the King that he was destined to return. The king requested Lord Manikantan to allow him to build a temple and dedicate it to him and the Lord assented.
Manikantan then enlightened the King on the path of attainment of Moksha. The Lord shot an arrow that fell at the top of Sabrimala and told the King that he could construct a temple at Sabarimala, north of the holy river Pampa and install His deity there. Ayyappan also explained how the Sabarimala pilgrimage shall be undertaken, emphasizing the importance of Penance vratham and what the devotees can attain by His 'darshan'.
The King secured a promise from the Lord that on Thai Pongal comes between 14-16 January, every year (celebrated as "Makara Jyothy" all his personal jewellery (kept at the Palace) will be adorned on his image at Sabarimala. Hence every year, the Jewellery will be taken on foot from the Palace by a special emissary of the kingdom.
Manikantan then blessed the King and all others assembled there, and vanished. The King duly constructed the temple at Sabarimala, dedicated to him. The deity for installation was prepared by Parasurama, believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and was installed by him.
Thiruvabharanam is the sacred ornaments of Ayyappan, the presiding deity of Sabarimala temple. The ornaments are made of gold. It is believed that these ornaments are made at the orders of the Pandalam King, who adopted Ayyappan as his child.
Thiruvabharanam is kept in the Srampickal Palace of Pandalam, which is close to the Valiyakoikkal Temple, inside the Pandalam Palace premises. For Makaravilakku, a procession carrying the holy caskets containing the sacred ornaments proceeds towards Sabarimala around January 12 every year. Afternoon of the day the sacred procession starts, an Eagel, popularly known as Sree Krishna Parunthu, is sighted circling above the temple and seen accompanied with the procession. Devotees believe that this is Vishnu upon Garuda accompanying the Thiruvabharanam from Pandalam to Sabarimala where again the kite is found hovering above the temple. The royal representative of the King of Pandalam accompanies the procession in a palanquin. On the Makaravilakku day, Ayyappan’s idol in Sabarima is adorned with these sacred ornaments. After the festive season, the return procession of the Thiruvabharanam starts from Sabarimala and reaches back Pandalam. The Thiruvabharanam procession follows the traditional routes through forests, hills, and rivers. A team of representatives (not belonging to the Royal Family) takes the holy caskets on their heads. The procession is accompanied by hundreds of devotees and armed policemen. The procession is warmly welcomed by different associations and temples on the way to Sabarimala and back. The Sacred Thirvabharnan