Worship of Thiruvabharanam on at Srambickal Palace in Pandalam

With hardly four days left for the Makaravilakku festival, the palace town of Pandalam is witnessing heavy rush of devotees to worship the sacred jewellery, Thiruvabharanam, before it will be taken to be offered to the presiding deity at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple as part of an annual ritual.

The jewellery is kept at the Srambickal Palace strong room at Pandalam.

The Palace strong room was opened on December 30 afternoon for the devotees to worship the Thiruvabharanam either on their way to Sabarimala or on their way back from the holy hillock.

The darshan time is from 5.30 am to 8 pm, according to palace sources.

Legend behind ritual

The Thiruvabharanam was an offering to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple by the king of the erstwhile royal kingdom of Pandalam, who is also believed to be the foster father of Lord Ayyappa.

As was the custom for the past several years, the Thiruvabharanam will be taken out in a ceremonial procession to Sabarimala from Pandalam for the annual Makaravilakku festival to be held on the day of Makara-sankramam every year.

Dileep Varma Raja of Pandalam Palace will be the royal representative escorting the ceremonial procession to Sabarimala this year.

The ceremonial procession, escorted by the armed police and Travancore Devaswom Board employees, will set off from Pandalam on January 12 afternoon.

The procession will reach Sabarimala Sannidhanam on January 14 afternoon, after stopping at Ayroor Bhagavathy Temple on January 12 evening , and at Laha Sathram on January 13 evening.

The procession will set off from Laha on January 14 morning to reach the Sannidhanam prior to the deeparadhana by 6.15 pm.

Makaravilakku rituals

The presiding deity at the Ayyappa Temple will be decorated with the jewellery prior to the deeparadhana at 6.30 pm. Sighting of the celestial star Makara (Makarajyoti) on the eastern horizon of the Sannidhanam followed by the deeparadhana (Makaravilakku) atop Ponnambalamedu a few minutes after the ritualistic deeparadhana at the Ayyappa Temple will be the major attraction of the annual Makaravilakku festival.

The Thiruvabharanam will be brought back to Pandalam Palace after the Makaravilakku festival for safekeeping in the palace strong room.

The annual pilgrimage to the Ayyappa Temple will come to a close after the Athazhapuja on January 19.

The temple will be closed immediately after the customary darshan by the royal representative on January 20 morning.