The customary ceremonial procession carrying the Thiruvabharanam (sacred jewellery), for the Makaravilaku festival at Sabarimala will set off from the Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple at Pandalam on Tuesday afternoon.

Srambickal Palace adjoining the Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple at Pandalam has been witnessing heavy rush with hundreds of Ayyappa devotees turning up to worship the sacred jewellery kept at the palace strong room since the past few days.

The sacred jewellery was offered to the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala by the king of the erstwhile Pandalam royal kingdom who is believed to be the foster father of Ayyappa.

The Thiruvabharanam darshan began at the strongroom of the Srambickal Palace, between 5.30 a.m. and 8 p.m., from the beginning of the Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage on the first day in the Malayalam month of Vrischikom in mid-November.

It has been a custom since the past several decades to take the sacred jewellery in a unique ceremonial procession, escorted royal by a royal designate, all the way from Pandalam to Sabarimala for the annual Makaravilakku festival.

The Thiruvabharanam will be taken out of the palace strongroom on Tuesday morning and will be handed over to the Travancore Devswom Board authorities by 4 a.m. The sacred ornaments will be kept at the adjoining Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple for the devotees to have darshan till 12.30 p.m.

The procession carrying the Thiruvabharanam will set off from the Valiyakoickal Palace at 1 p.m.

Venugopala Varma Raja, a 58-year old member of the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Thekkedathu Palace, will be escorting the ceremonial procession to Sabarimala, this year.

The royal entourage will halt at the Ayroor Puthiyakavu Devi Temple near Ranni on Tuesday evening and at Laha Sathram on the Mannarakulanji-Chalakkayam main trunk road leading to Sabarimala on Wednesday evening.

The procession will reach Valiyanavattom near Pampa on Thursday afternoon. TDB authorities will receive the Thiruvabharanam when the procession reaches Sabarimala Sannidhanam by 6 p.m.

The Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by Melsanthi, G. Vishnu Namboodiri, will decorate the Ayyappa idol with the Thiruvabharanam prior to the deeparadhana to be held, later, at 6.30 pm.

Makarajyoti

Sighting of the celestial star, Makara, on the eastern horizon of the Sannidhanam and a bright flame, Makarajyoti, flickering thrice on a remote hillside immediately after the deeparadhana will be the special event on the Makaravilakku day. Tens of thousands of devotees from different parts of the country have already started camping at the Sannidhanam to witness the event.