Padipuja, a unique ritual performed before the gold-plated holy 18-steps (Pathinettampady) leading to Lord Ayyappa Temple was held with ritualistic fervour at Sabarimala on Monday.

The Tantri, assisted by Melsanthi, G.Vishnu Namboodiri, performed the ritual immediately after the Pushpabhishekom around 7.30 pm.

The 18 steps symbolises 18 holy hills surrounding Sabarimala and puja was being performed on each step.

The air was rented with Ayyappa bhajans and the entire atmosphere was charged with devotion.

There was a huge crowd of devotees at the Lower Tirumuttom to witness the ceremony.

Revenue crosses Rs 125 crore.

According to Travancore Devaswom Board sources, the total revenue collection at Sabarimala during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season has touched Rs 125.94 crore as on January 17 evening. This is against the Rs 109.94 crore revenue collected during the same period in the previous pilgrim season.

Aravana sales alone has fetched a total collection of Rs 42.65 crore as on Sunday while the Hundi collection during the period was Rs 49.55 crore, sources said.

The total revenue collection during the Makaravilakku festival alone upto Sunday evening was Rs 41.37 crore, sources said.

This year’s pilgrim season at Sabarimala will come to a close with the Guruti ritual to propitiate the cohorts (Bhoothagana) of Lord Ayyappa at Malikappuram on Tuesday evening.

However, the Ayyappa Temple witnessed heavy rush on Tuesday too.

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