A 14-member team of Ayyappa devotees from Russia reached the hillock on Tuesday

Dressed in black cloths and with the customary sacred bundle (Irumudikkettu) on their head, a 14-member team of Ayyappa devotees from Russia reached the holy hillock for the 12th consecutive year on Tuesday night.

Induchoodan alias Iliya Padukova, the team leader and Guruswami, said he, along with a group of devotees from St Petersburg, has been undertaking the annual pilgrimage for the past 12 years. He is an Ayurvedic doctor in St. Petersburg and is a disciple at the Panchalipeedha Ashram at Valakode in Idukki from where he had learned the Kerala martial art of Kalarippayattu a decade ago.

The team, accompanied by a few Keralite disciples at the Ashram, had set off from the Ashram on their pilgrimage to Sabarimala on Tuesday forenoon and reached the Sannidhanam, later, in the evening. They offered prayers at the Ayyappa Temple on Wednesday morning before leaving for Idukki.

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