Hundreds of devotees braved incessant rain and offered prayers at Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala on the Malayalam New Year day on Friday.
Melsanthi N. Balamurali opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5 a.m. The rituals began with Tantri Kandararu Rajeevararu performing the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homom followed by the Ashtabhishekom. The Tantri led the Laksharchana ritual at the temple. Sahasrakalasabhishekom and Kalabhabhishekom were performed at the Sannidhanam prior to the utchapuja. Sandal paste (kalabhom) offered to the deity was distributed as prasadom to the devotees.
The Ayyappa Temple will close after the Athazhapuja on August 21 evening, marking the culmination of the five-day rituals in the Malayalam month of Chingom.
The Pampa breached its banks in the heavy rain inundating the pilgrims’ path. Forest Department sources at Pampa hinted at the possibility of landslips occurring in the forest interiors, which may lead to flash floods in the Pampa.
The vehicle parking lots at Pampa-Triveni on the river banks were inundated and the vehicles were shifted to the Pampa hilltop.
The tents (Balippura) pitched on the river banks for the ritualistic `pitru-tharpanom’, paying obeisance to the ancestors, too were flooded, posing hardship to the pilgrims in performing the rites.
The causeway across the Pampa at Kanamala too was submerged in the flood waters, disrupting traffic on the Erumely-Kanamala-Elavumkal Road leading to Pampa.
All Pampa-bound vehicles were diverted through Ranni and Vadasserikkara, according to the police.
The police advised devotees through a public address system not to park their vehicles along the Pampa Manalpuram for fear of flash floods.
The pilgrims were also cautioned about the danger involved in taking the customary holy dip in the Pampa where the river flows with strong currents.