Almost all vantage points occupied by devotees

Devotees in thousands are camping at Sabarimala and the surrounding hills to worship the celestial star Makarajyoti that appears on the eastern horizon of the Sannidhanam as well as the ‘deeparadhana’, Makaravilakku, performed atop Ponnambalamedu on the Makaravilakku day on Tuesday.

The faithful are occupying the forests surrounding the Sannidhanam, Pampa Hilltop, Attathode, and Nilackal.

Almost all vantage points at the Sannidhanam have been occupied by the pilgrims so that they could get a trouble-free view of the deeparadhana performed at Ponnambalamedu in the twilight hours of Tuesday.

The pilgrims are camping in makeshift tents pitched at Paandithavalom, Appachimedu, Marakkoottom, Urakkuzhy, and Malikappuram for the past two days. Many carried cooking gas, provisions, and vegetables for preparing food on their own, disregarding the Forest Department’s plea not to cook food in the open to avert fire outbreaks.

The Makarasankrama puja will be performed at the Ayyappa temple at 1.14 p.m. on Tuesday, chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Maheswararu said. The Neyyabhishekom offering to the presiding deity will be performed with the ghee brought from the Kowdiar palace in Thiruvananthapuram. The deeparadhana at Ponnambalamedu, a remote hill in the shola forests facing the Sannidhanam, will be performed soon after the deeparadhana at the Ayyappa temple at 6.30 p.m.

According to Travancore Devaswom Board sources, a senior priest attached to the board will perform the deeparadhana at Ponnambalamedu. A team of security personnel, including TDB officials, will escort the priest to Ponnambalamedu.

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