The ritualistic Neyyabhishekom during the two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season at Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala came to a close with the auspicious Kalabhabhishekom ritual on Monday.

Hundreds of Ayyappa devotees thronged the holy hillock to witness the ritual and worship the presiding deity on Monday.

The temple tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by melsanthi, G. Vishnu Namboodiri, performed the Kalabhapuja at the Namaskara Mandapam. The Brahmakalasom was taken out in a ceremonial procession to the sanctum sanctorum, with the accompaniments of the sacred Marappani and other traditional temple percussion, later.

The entire atmosphere was charged with devotion and the sandal paste (kalabhom) was poured on the Ayyappa idol prior to the Utchapuja amidst loud chants of ‘Ayyappa Saranam’.

The sandal paste offered to the presiding deity was distributed among the devotees as prasadom, later. The sandal paste for the Kalabhabhishekom ritual was brought from the Pandalam Palace and the palace representative, Venugopala Varma Raja, supervised the rituals.

The royal representative who escorted the Thiruvabharanam (sacred jewellery) from Pandalam reached Sannidhanam on Saturday and as it being a custom and practice, he has been camping at Malikappuram, supervising the rituals performed in the last lap of the Makaravilakku festival.

Hundreds of Ayyappa devotees visited the royal representative too at his camp behind the

Mani Mandapam at the Malikappuram temple complex and the Raja offered sacred ash (vibhuti) to all of them.

The ceremonial procession (Ezhunnellathu) from Malikappuram to Sannidhanam too came to a close following the customary procession to Saramkuthi on the trekking path on Monday.

Guruti ritual

The annual Guruti ritual to propitiate the cohorts (Bhoothagana) of Lord Ayyappa will be held at Malikappuram on Tuesday evening.

The Guruti will be performed only after closing the sanctum sanctorum of the Ayyappa Temple as well as the Malikappuram Devi Temple soon after the Athazhapuja on Tuesday.

The Ayyappa Temple will be opened at 7 a.m. on Tuesday to facilitate the exclusive holy darshan for the royal representative and no other person will be permitted to enter the temple sopanam on Tuesday. The melsanthi will close the sanctum sanctorum immediately after the royal representative completes his holy darshan, later, marking the culmination of this year’s Makaravilakku pilgrim season.