Neyyabhishekom ritual concludes with Kalabhabhishekom

The holy hillock of Sabarimala continued to witness a heavy flow of pilgrims with thousands of devotees from the southern States visiting the Ayyappa temple on Tuesday.

The annual pilgrimage will come to a close on Wednesday evening.

Pilgrims had to wait in thickly packed barricades down to Marakoottom, 2 km from the Sannidhanam, for hours together in the forenoon. The rush was owing to the culmination of the auspicious Neyyabhishekom ritual prior to the Utchapuja on Tuesday. The ritual came to a close by 11 am.

Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru, assisted by Melsanthi Ezhikode Sasi Namboodiri, performed the Kalabhapuja at the Namaskara Mandapam at 11.30 a.m. The Brahmakalasom carrying the sandal paste (kalabhom) for the abhishekom was taken out in a ceremonial procession to the accompaniment of the sacred Marappani and other temple percussion. The sandal paste was poured over the Ayyappa idol, marking the culmination of the Kalabhabhishekom. The kalabhom was later distributed as prasadom among the devotees.

Royal representative of the Pandalam Palace P.R. Raghava Varma Raja supervised the rituals.

Guruti ritual

The 68-day annual pilgrimage will conclude with the Guruti ritual on Wednesday. The ‘Guruti' to propitiate the ‘Bhoothagana' of Lord Ayyappa will be performed at Malikappuram immediately after the closure of the Ayyappa temple after the Athazhapuja on Wednesday evening. The royal representative and devaswom executive officer V.S. Jayakumar will supervise the rituals.

The Melsanthi will open the sanctum sanctorum at 6.30 a.m. on Thursday to facilitate the customary exclusive holy darshan by the royal representative. No other person will be allowed in the temple on Thursday.

As part of the custom, the royal representative will give a purse to the Melsanthi, along the key of the sanctum sanctorum, for looking after the temple till the next Makaravilakku festival, before he climbs down the holy 18 steps with the Thiruvabharanam (sacred jewellery of Lord Ayyappa) on Thursday morning.

The Thuiruvabharanam will be taken back to the Pandalam Palace in a ceremonial procession on January 24 forenoon after halts at Laha Sathram, Perinad Sastha Temple and the Aranmula Palace.