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Updated: March 30, 2010 21:28 IST

Sabarimala fete draws to a close

Staff Reporter
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TEMPLE RITUALS: Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu performing Arat Puja on the banks of the Pampa at the foothills of Sabarimala on Monday.
THE HINDU TEMPLE RITUALS: Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu performing Arat Puja on the banks of the Pampa at the foothills of Sabarimala on Monday.

The 10-day annual festival at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala drew to a close with the ritualistic Arat on Monday.

Chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by head priest (Melsanthi) G. Vishnu Namboodiri, performed Aratbali and other rituals at the Sannidhanam in the morning. The presiding deity was taken out in a ceremonial procession to Pampa at the foothills of Sabarimala, to the accompaniments of a caparisoned elephant and the traditional temple percussion, at 8.20 am. Hundreds of white-clad Ayyappa Seva Sanghom volunteers escorted the procession.

The Arat rituals were performed at 11.30 am. The Ayyappa idol was then taken to the Namaskara Mandapam on the Maha Ganapati temple premises at Pampa and kept there for the devotees to have darshan till 3.30 p.m.

The Arat procession set off from Pampa by 3.30 p.m. The Tantri brought down the ceremonial flag on the golden temple mast as soon as the procession reached the temple precincts.

The temple was closed after Athazha puja in the evening.

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