About Shree Ayyappa Seva Sangham Powai (SASSP)
History: Its origin dates back to 1983 when a group of ardent devotees of Lord Ayyappa at Powai had a wish to celebrate Mandala pooja. They came together and began to sing bhajans by installing a photo of Lord Ayyappa. The faithful chanting of Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa echoed in the sky and the onlookers watched in amusement. However, during the pooja, the authorities took away the sound system on the ground of not obtaining prior permission. There was no limit for the disappoint of the devotees. Subequently, they decided to form an organization so that they could comply with the laws while worshiping the Lord. That was the humble beginning of Shree Ayyappa Seva Sangham Powai.
Shree Ayyappa Seva Sangham Powai (Regd), the first registered organization in Powai in the name of Lord Ayyappa, began its devotional pilgrimage with the 21 founder trustees in 1983.
The first Mandala Pooja was conducted in a devotional atmosphere and the people of Powai just loved it. The festivities were limited to the minimum due to lack of resources, but the response was quite awesome. Along with conducting of an Annual Pooja to Lord Ayyappa, the organization took up various social, cultural and community development activities like feeding of poor, extending financial aids to needy and downtrodden, educational assistance to poor students, conducting free medical camps, taking up social issues with the concerned authorities, propagating universal brotherhood through devotional ventures, celebrating all festivals with equal importance and so on… Thus the organization attracted people from all religions and regions and soon new innovative ideas got momentum. An independent office room was procured and in due course the members began to cherish a dream of constructing a small temple for Lord Ayyappa. The members had a series of meetings and discussed "various "ifs" and "buts", and finally decided to fulfill their cherished dream.
Thus Shree Ayyappa Seva Sangham Powai procured a piece of land at Hari Om Nagar village. (It is worth mentioning that Late Shri Chittaranjan Sharmaji, one of the founder trustees of the organization, gave the land at reasonably low price.) Then, Jyothisharatnam Sarvashri Shoolapani Warrier from Kerala was called in to verify the sanctity and planetary positions of the site through devaprasnam. His findings were really astonishing. He predicted that a sage had lived at the place centuries ago and had worshipped Lord Vishnu. Hence the area has the aura of Lord Vishnu, and hence the prime deity of the upcoming temple should be Vishnu. This prediction gave a twist to the thoughts of the trustees and the dream of making a small temple for Lord Ayyappa was soon translated in to construction of Maha Kshetra for Lord Ayyappa and Lord Vishnu. Though the capital was scarce and there was no scarcity for stumbling blocks on the way, the journey had begun and nothing could prevent the collective and determined will of the devotees. The rest is history!
The temple was designed by eminent temple architects Brahmashri Kanippayyur Krishnan Namboothirippad and Brahmashri Kanippayyur Kuttan Namboothirippad. The temple construction was carried out by the temple experts from Kerala under Shilpi Shri Shanmughan. The main sopana stones were procured from Shuchindrum, Tamil Nadu (Shilpi Nallatanu), the idols were carved out by Shri Chengannur Sadashivan Aachary (Kerala) and the Dwajasthambam or Kodimaram (Flag bearing pillar) was procured from Shri Mannar Anandan Aachary (Kerala). The temple thanthri is Brahmashri Manayathattumana Chandrasekharan Namboothirippad, an eminent scholar in Vedas and mantras and thanthri of many temples in Kerala.
In short, the temple construction was carried out in the most traditional manner without compromising quality. The trustees were not at all worried about the outcome as everything was happening as if a hidden hand was guiding them! The outcome was indeed beyond even their wildest imagination!