It will reach Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Monday morning

Thousands thronged Pandalam to witness the Sabarimala-bound annual procession carrying Thiruvabharanam, the jewellery of the presiding deity, for the Makaravilakku festival. The procession began from the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple on Saturday afternoon.

The Srambickal Palace and the adjoining Sastha temple witnessed heavy rush of Ayyappa devotees from early morning itself. The Thiruvabharanam was shifted from the strong room of the Pandalam Palace to the Valiyakoickal Temple at 4.30 a.m. and kept for darshan there till 12.30 p.m.

The jewellery was kept in three specially designed wooden boxes which were to be carried to Sabarimala by a 22-member team of devotees headed by the Guruswami, Kulathinal Gangadharan Pillai. The temple head priest performed special rituals at the Sastha Temple and offered flower garlands to all team members of the Guruswami.

Krishnapparunthu, the celestial kite, was soon found soaring in the sky, above the sanctum sanctorum. The entire atmosphere was charged with devotion and ‘Ayyappa Saranam’ mantra rented the air.

The eldest male member of the Pandalam Palace, P. Ramavarma Raja, handed over the ceremonial sword to the royal representative, Ashoka Varma Raja, who is escorting the procession to Sabarimala.

The royal designate escorting the procession was taken in a palanquin upto the Kaippuzha Palace at Kulanada on the opposite bank of river Achencoil.

He had sought the blessings of the eldest female member of the royal family before proceeding to Sabarimala from there.

V.N. Jithendran, District Collector; N. Vasu, Devaswom Commissioner; Putta Vimaladitya, District Superintendent of Police; and D.Vijayakumar, Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom national vice-president, were among those who attended the ceremonial start of the procession.

Devotees accorded a rousing reception to the procession at various places before it reached the Puthiyakavu Devi Temple on the banks of the Pampa river at Ayroor near Ranni in the evening.

The procession will halt at Laha Sathram near Plappally on the Mannarakulanji-Chalakkayam main trunk road leading to Sabarimala on Sunday night.

The procession will reach Sabarimala Sannidhanam by 6.15 p.m. on Monday. However, the royal representative will stay back in Pampa in the foothills for the next two days.

The Makarasankramaopuja at the Ayyappa Temple will be performed at the Ayyappa Temple at 6.43 a.m. on Monday.

V.S. Sivakumar, Devaswom Minister; M.P. Govindan Nair, TDB president; Subhash Vasu, board member; N. Vasu, Devaswom Commissioner; K.Jayakumar, festival chief co-ordinator; and K. Sankaranarayana Pillai, devaswom executive officer, will receive the Thiruvabharanam on its arrival on the temple premises.

Tantri Kandararu Rajeevararu, assisted by Melsanthi N. Damodaran Potti, will decorate the Ayyappa idol with the jewellery prior to the deeparadhana to be held at 6.30 pm.

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