The Srambickal Palace at Pandaalm has been witnessing heavy rush of devotees who throng the palace town to worship Thiruvabharanam, sacred attire of the presiding deity at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, kept at the palace strong room ever since the beginning of the Makaravilau festival.
The Palace strong room was reopened on December 30 afternoon for the devotees to worship the sacred attire either on their way to Sabarimala or on their way back. The darshan time is from 5.30 am to 8 pm, according to palace sources.
The Thiruvabharanam was offered to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple by the king of the erstwhile Pandalam royal kingdom who is also believed to be the foster father of Lord Ayyappa.
As it being the custom for the past several years, the Thiruvabharanam will be taken out in a unique ceremonial procession all the way from Pandalam to Sabarimala for the annual Makaravilakku festival to be
held every year on the day of Makara-sankramam every year.
Mr Harivarma Raja of Kaippuzha Panthaplavil Palace will be the royal representative escorting the ceremonial procession to Sabarimala, this year.
The ceremonial procession, escorted by the royal entourage, armed police and Travancore Devaswom Board employees, will set off from Pandalam on January 13 afternoon.
The procession will reach Sabarimala Sannidhanam on January 15 afternoon, after halting at Ayroor Bhagavathy Temple on January 13 evening , and at Laha Sathram on January 14 evening enroute.
The procession will set off from Laha on January 15 morning to reach the Sannidhanam by 6.15 pm.
The Ayyappa idol will be decorated with the sacred 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 to be held atop Ponnambalamedu immediately after the ritualistic deeparadhana at the Ayyappa shrine will be the major attraction of the annual festival.
The Thiruvabharanam will be brought back to Pandalam Palace after the culmination of the Makaravilakku festival to be kept in safe custody at the palace strong room.
The pilgrimage to the Ayyappa Temple will come to a close after the Athazhapuja on January 20 evening and the temple will be closed immediately after the customary exclusive darshan by the royal representative on January 21 morning.