Swami Ayyapan Sharanam is a mythological devotional series which airs on the Asianet channel. It is a Malayalam language series and revolves around the story of Lord Ayyappa and how he came to be. The show boasts of a stellar star cast including
Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Sukanya, Devan, Aiswarya, Shalumenon, Rajan P.Dev,
Sreeja Chandran, among others. The show is broadcast every weekday from Monday to Friday at 9:15 PM. The story revolves around Lord Ayyappa and his legend.
It traces the growth of evil in this world and how he took birth to cleanse the Earth. The show got known for its brilliant narrative and excellent acting. The Lord gets called by many names including Manikandan, Sastavu, and Sasta. As per the renowned Hindu mythology, Lord Ayyappa was the son of the deity Harihara who himself was born from the fusion of both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The Gods had to take this route, as the demoness called Mahishi had undertaken a severe penance and approached Lord Brahma for a boon. Although he denied her immortality, she asked to be invulnerable to death from anyone but the son of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. She gets this wish and proceeds to go on destroying the Earth and bringing it to its knees.
The Gods get disturbed by this and try to find a solution. Harihara was born as a result of this. In popular folklore, one can see Lord Ayyappan depicted as a yogi. He is also shown wearing a single jewel around his neck. It is due to this that he gained the title of Manikandan that literally translates into "one with a gem around his neck". Lord Ayyappan has many followers all over India especially in the Southern parts of the country.
This has got help due to improvements in the connectivity of the Southern states with the other parts of the country. An annual festival gets hosted as an offering to Lord Ayyappan and becomes a pilgrimage for a large number of people. Most of these devotees, however, belong to Southern parts of India. One of the most famous and prominent shrines of the Lord is in Sabarimala, which nestles within the hills of the Pathanamthitta range in Kerala. The site gets visited by over a million devotees every year. This makes it one of the biggest pilgrimage sites found in any part of the world.