In Tamil, ‘Ayyan‘ is a title of respect (like Mr/Mrs. in English) and ‘Appan‘ which means ‘Father‘. Thus the words ‘Ayyan‘ and ‘Appan‘ put together ~ ‘Ayyappan‘ which refers to a senior and respectable guardian deity of the oldest community.
Generally Lord Ayyappa is depicted in a yogic posture, wearing a jewel around his neck, hence named Manikanda (Mani means ‘Gem‘ and Kanda means ‘Neck‘ – ‘one who wears with gem around the neck‘) and also on top of tiger which is his vehicle.
Lord Ayyappa’s Annual Festival
Every year men from throughout southern India visit the famous Ayyappan Shrine at Sabarimala (hills of Pathanamthitta in Kerala) during the Ayyappan’s annual festival. With over 10 million devotees from all over the world visit this temple every year, which makes this temple as one of the largest pilgrimage sites in the world.
Lord Ayyappa’s devotees fast and engage in austerities under the leadership of a Guru Swami (one who has undertaken the pilgrimage to Sabarimala for 18 years). They wear a distinctive ritual dhotis of saffron, black and light blue colors.
There is a tremendous increase in Lord Ayyappan’s devotees in the last century mostly due to vast improvements in transport and communication in India.
Lord Ayyappa’s Mantra
The God Ayyappan’s mantra is “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa” which means “Lord Ayyappa, I seek refuge in you“.
Other Names of Lord Ayyappa
Lord Ayyappa is also known as Dharmasasta, Manikandan, Sasta, Bhoolokanathan, Bhoothanathan, Erumelivasan, Harihar, Hariharaatmaja, Hariharan, Hariharaputra, Hariharasuthan, Kaliyugavaradhan, Karunaasaagar, Lakshmanapranadata, Lankapuravidahaka, Lokapujya, Pambavasan, Pandalavasan, Ponmala, Sabareesh, Sabareeshwara, Sabari, Shri Jagadeesh, and Veeramani.
Lord Ayyappa Images
God Ayyappa Swamy Wallpaper Images
-  – “India Local Deities.” India Local Deities. Accessed January 05, 2017. Link.