The rituals in connection with the eight-day Vishu festival at Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala began with Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu performing the Ashtadravya Ganapati homom on Sunday morning.

The holy hillock witnessed heavy rush as hundreds of devotees thronged the temple to offer prayers on the day.

An auspicious ‘Sahasrakalasabhishekom' will be held at the temple prior to the Utchapuja on Monday.

The Tantri, assisted by Melsanthi G.Vishnu Namboodiri, performed the ‘Kalasapuja' at the northern mandapam of the temple on Sunday.

The ritual

Holy water in 1,001 small copper urns (‘kalasom') and the ‘brahmakalasom' in a golden urn were prepared for the ‘abhishekom.'

The holy water would be poured over the idol as part of the ‘Sahasrakalasabhishekom.'

A ‘Kalabhabhishekom' and another ‘Sahasrakalasabhishekom' will be performed at the temple on April 18, according to temple sources

Vishukkani

The Melsanthi will prepare the auspicious ‘Vishukkani' inside the sanctum sanctorum on April 14 and the devotees can have ‘Vishukkani' darshan at Sabarimala from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. on April 15.

The temple will close after the ‘Athazhapuja' on April 18, marking the culmination of this year's Vishu festival. ‘Padipuja,' ‘Udayasthamanapuja' and ‘Pushpabhishekom' are the other important rituals performed at the temple on all the eight days.

There is drastic depletion of water level in the Pampa, leaving many stretches in the lower reaches almost dry. Most devotees had to forego the customary holy dip in the river.