The annual Hindu festival of luck, Vishu, was celebrated with traditional fervour and ritualistic splendour at Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Thursday.
Thousands of devotees from different parts of the State thronged the holy hillock to have the auspicious Vishukkani darshan at the Ayyappa shrine in the morning.
The entire atmosphere was charged with the `Ayyappa Saranam’ mantra and the sanctum sanctorum was opened at 3.45 am for the Vishukkani darshan.
The Melsatnhi, G.Vishnu Namboodiri, assisted by other priests, had arranged the `Vishukkani’ inside the sanctum sanctorum with `kanikonna’ (Cassia Fistula) flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables, paddy spikes, jewels and the traditional `Ashtamangalyam’ on Wednesday night.
Hundreds of devotees have been camping at the holy hillock since Wednesday for the auspicious ‘Vishukkani’ darshan which is believed to bring them good luck throughout the year.
Devaswom Minister, Kadannappally Ramachandran, was the first to receive `Vishukaineettom’ from the chief priest (tantri), Kandararu Maheswararu, in the morning.
Justice G.Saidharan, Dam Safety Authority chairman, K.Jayakumar, devaswom chief commissioner, M.Rajendran Nair, Special Commissioner appointed by Kerala High Court, P.V.Nalinakshan Nair, devaswom commissioner, K.P.Somarajan, Vigilence Director, M.N.Krishnamurthy, Director General of Police (Prisons), G.Baburaj, Inspector General of Police and District Collector, S.Lalithambika, were among those who offered prayers at the Ayyappa Temple on Thursday morning.
The Tantri and Melsanthi had offered coins as customary `Vishu-kaineettom’ to all devotees who have visited the Ayyappa shrine on Thursday forenoon.
The Vishukkani darshan began 15 minutes ahead of the schedule and the darshan time was extended by one hour owing to heavy rush.
The police had made elaborate arrangements for better crowd management in view of the heavy rush for Vishukkani darshan.
District Superintendent of Police, K.Sanjaykumar, supervised the crowd control mechanism. Flow of devotees was well-streamlined right from the Valiyanadappanthal as well as the Lower Tirumuttom.
As many as 320 police constables were deployed at Sannidhanam under 10 DySPs to ensure better crowd management.
A Kalabhabishekom and Sahasrakalasabhishekom will be performed at the Ayyappa Temple on April 18.
The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on Aprilo 18, marking the culmination of this year’s Vishu festival.