The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple is busiest during the Mandala Makaravilakku season, which falls from the 16th of November to the 20th of January in the Gregorian calendar. This is the time when the temple is open for the longest period of time, and it also coincides with the most important festivals of the year, including Mandala Pooja and Makaravilakku.
If you are looking to visit the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple with fewer crowds, I recommend visiting outside of the Mandala Makaravilakku season. The temple is open for a shorter period of time during these months, but it is also much less crowded.
Here is a breakdown of the different times of year and the expected crowd levels at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple:
Mandala Makaravilakku season (November 16th to January 20th): Very crowded
Other times of the year: Less crowded, but the temple is open for a shorter period of time
Here are some specific dates that you may want to avoid if you are looking for a less crowded experience:
- New Year’s Day (January 1st): Very crowded
- Makaravilakku (usually falls on January 14th): Very crowded
- Weekends: More crowded than weekdays
No matter what time of year you choose to visit the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, it is important to be prepared for crowds. The temple is located in a remote area, and the infrastructure can be overwhelmed by the large number of pilgrims who visit each year. Be sure to book your travel and accommodation well in advance, and be prepared to wait in line for darshan.