The Pettathullal ritual by the Ambalappuzha and Aalangad teams, marking the high point of the Sabarimala pilgrim season, was performed here amidst unprecedented rush of pilgrims on Saturday.

The day began early at the two Sastha temples, Kochambalam near the Nainar Mosque, and the Valiambalam, nearly a kilometre away as pilgrims, mostly from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, arrived in thousands in anticipation of the grand show of religious frenzy combined with the expression of universal brotherhood. To celebrate the day when the legends of Lord Ayyappa come to life in the very village where it was enacted, the two teams, those from Ambalappuzha and Aalangad, had arrived in the village on Friday itself.

Devotees’ dance

The Ambalapuzha team led by their ‘Samooha Periyon’ Kalathil Chandrasekharan Nair started the ritualistic dancing after sighting the kite in the skies, considered a blessing from the deity at the Ambalappuzha Sreekrishna Swamy temple by 12 noon.

The team soon burst into their frenzied quick-paced dancing and moved to the Nainar Mosque.

The Samooha Periyon and other leaders were received by the leaders of the local Jamaat and taken around the mosque where they paid their obeisance to Vavar, who, according to legend, was the most trusted lieutenant of Lord Ayyappa in his fight against the demon, Mahishi, to save the sages in the forests in and around the village.

The team consisting of over 500 pilgrims then danced their way to the Valiambalam along with the Jamaat leaders where they were received by the Travancore Devaswom Board authorities.

The Aalangad team took their turn at the Pettathullal after sighting the star in the evening. They stuck to tradition and avoided the Nainar Mosque on their way to the Valiambalam.

The two teams would move through the forest trail to Pampa where they would participate in the Pampa Sadya and Pampa Vilakku ceremonies before continuing their journey to the Sannidhanam to participate in the Makaravilakku celebration.

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