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Symbolism of Eighteen Steps at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple – Symbolism of Pathinettam Padi

One has to climb the Pathinettam Padi or the eighteen steps to reach the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. There is deep symbolism associated with the eighteen steps. One can climb the eighteen steps only if one is carrying the irumudi.

The widely accepted belief is that the eighteen steps represent the eighteen mountains in Sabarimala.

Another popular belief is that Lord Ayyappa had placed each one of his eighteen weapons on the eighteen steps and entered the temple and merged with the murti in the temple.

There is another belief which states that eighteen steps are the eighteen Puranas.

Another belief is that the eighteen steps are associated with Yoga. Some people also claim the steps represent the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita.

  • It is also believed that the first five steps represent five Indriyas or Panchandriya;
  • The six to thirteen steps represents Ashta Roga – Raga, Dwesha, Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and Matsarya;
  • The fourteen to sixteen represent the three gunas – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas
  • The seventeenth and eighteenth steps represent Vidya and Avidya