The Travancore Devaswom Board will perform the ‘deeparadhana' at Ponnambalamedu, engaging a senior priest, when the ‘Makarajyoti' appears in the sky on the Makaravilakku day on January 15, according to Board president M. Rajagopalan Nair.
The Makarajyoti is a celestial star that appears on the eastern horizon of the Sabarimala Sannidhanam on the day of Makara-sankramom every year. Earlier, tribal people used to perform the deeparadhana at Ponnambalamedu when the Makarajyoti was sighted and the practice had been stopped since the past several years. Mr. Nair said the Board had no objection to the tribal people participating in the ritual.
He said three organisations of Malayaraya tribe, mainly those from Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad districts, had submitted a memorandum to the TDB seeking the right to perform the deeparadhana at Ponnambalamedu on the Makaravilakku day. The TDB had held discussions with all the organisations and apprised them of its stand mentioned in the affidavit submitted before the Kerala High Court in this regard, he said.
Mr. Nair said the platform where the Makaravilakku is lit was repaired in 1999 following a High Court direction issued on the basis of a petition filed by certain people.
Mr. Nair said the TDB had made elaborate arrangements for a trouble-free Makarajyoti darshan at Sabarimala. He said more open spaces had been made available at Paandithavalom and at the Sannidhanam.
He called upon the devotees not to perch atop the buildings to witness the Makarajyoti and to cooperate with the police and the TDB in ensuring a better crowd management during the peak hours of the Makaravilakku day.
Senior Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu said the reported move to rake up a controversy over the auspicious Makarajyoti was heartburning. He called upon the people not to make the Makarajyoti a controversial thing as it would hurt the sentiments of Ayyappa devotees across the globe.
“This is a matter of faith of the Ayyappa devotees. Makarajyoti is the star that appears on the eastern horizon of Sabarimala on the Makara-sankramaom day and the Makaravilakku is the camphor lamp lit as part of the deeparadhana at the Ponnambalamedu, a hillock facing the Sannidhanam,'' he said.