The Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala was closed after the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Meenom on Sunday evening.

The holy hillock witnessed heavy rush on Sunday as hundreds of devotees from different parts of South India undertook the pilgrimage to the hills shrine during the week end.

Laksharchana, Sahasrakalasabhishekom

An auspicious Laksharchana was performed at the Ayyaa Temple in the morning.

The senior Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by Melsanthi, N.Balamurali, performed the kalasapuja and kalabhapuja as part of the special rituals in the forenoon.

The golden urns carrying Brahmakalasom and Kalabha-kalasom were taken out in a customary procession, with the accompaniments of the sacred Marappani and other temple percussion, to the sanctum sanctorum prior to the Utchapuja. The Tantri poured the holy water (Brahmakalasom) and sandal paste (kalabhom) over the Ayyappa idol marking the culmination of the Sahasrakalasabhishekom and Kalababhishekom, which the devotees consider as very special offerings to the presiding deity.

Padipuja, Udayasthamanapuja and Pushpabhishekom were the other major rituals performed at the Ayyappa Temple on Sunday.

The Melsanthi closed the temple, singing the sacred lullaby, Harivarasanam, viswa-mohanom,..’’ afte the Athazhapuja, later, in the evening.

Annual festival

The Ayyappa Temple will be opened on March 26 afternoon for the 10-day annual festival that begins on March 27.

The Kodiyettu ceremony, marking the beginning of the festival will be held between 9.30 am and 10 am on March 27. The Tantri will hoist the ceremonial flag on the golden temple mast, after performing special rituals in connection with the kodiyettu ceremony.

The auspicious Utsavabali will be performed in the afternoon on all days from March 28 to April 4.

The ritualistic Pallivetta will be held at Saramkuthy on the trekking path on April 4 evening. The 10-day temple festival will come to a close with the Aratt ceremony on April 5.