Not many deities are termed as kaliyuga varada since it is difficult to attain Moksha in this age of hypocrisy, violence and bad influences. It is believed that Lord Ayyappa will grant a devotee moksha if he observes 41 days of austerities and climb the 18 holy gold steps to arrive at the sannidhanam to get a glimpse of the Lord. He combines in himself the powers of Vishnu and Shiva and is referred to as Dharmasasta, Manikantan, Harihara sutan, Ayyanar, Bhootanathan etc. Lord Ayyappan's temple is situated in the Western Ghat mountain ranges, in the Sahya hilly regions in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, India in the midst of 18 hills.
Kerala has always been a religiously tolerant place where people of different faiths and beliefs work together for a common culture. People from different faiths go to a pilgrimage to Sabarimala with single minded devotion to Lord Ayyappa. ‘Vavaru nada’ is a place near the temple which is dedicated to a muslim disciple of Lord Ayyappa. The temple plays the rendition by Dr. K.J. yesudas who is a staunch Ayyappa devotee though being a Christian by birth.
Makara Jyothi is the celestial star which marks the climax of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season called Makaravilakku. The main worship is performed on the day of Makara Sankranti (January 14th). Below is a video from youtube with a commentary on the celebrations in Sabarimala.
http://www.manikanta.com/ contains all the necessary information like the legend, history, routemap, schedules etc.