Tens of thousands of Ayyappa devotees worshipped the Makarajyoti, a bright star sighted on the eastern horizon of Sabarimala Sannidhanam, and the Makaravilakku, ritualistic deeparadhana performed at Ponnambalamedu, a remote hill facing the Ayyappa Temple, on the auspicious Makara-sankranti day here on Monday.
The serene sacred grove of Sabarimala was flooded with Ayyappa devotees coming from different parts of the country to witness the auspicious annual event which, they believe, would bring good fortunes and prosperity to them.
The entire atmosphere was charged with devotion and `Swami Saranam, Ayyappa Saranam’ mantra rented the air.
The auspicious Makara-sankramapuja was performed at the Ayyappa Temple at 6.56 am on Monday.
The Tantri, Kandarau Rajeevararu, assisted by the Melsanthi, N. Damodaran Potti, performed the ritual. The ghee brought from the Kowdiyar Palace and the Pattom Palace in Thiruvananthapuram in two coconuts was poured over the Ayyappa idol first as part of the ritual.
As it being the custom, the erstwhile Travancore royal dynasty had sent the ghee for the auspicious Makara-sankramapuja by two devotees, Manikandan, 14, and Sankar, 20, who were undertaking their maiden pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
Kodikkunnil Suresh, Union Minister for Labour; V.S. Sivakumar, Devaswom Minister; M.P. Govindan Nair, Travancore Devaswom Board president; Subhash Vasu, board member, K. Jayakumar, chief festival co-ordinaor; K. Babu, Special Commissioner appointed by Kerala High Court; N. Vasu, devaswom commissioner; K. Ravikumar, chief engineer; P. Chandrashekharan, Additional Director General of Police; K. Gopalakrishna Pillai, Police Special Officer; and K.Sankaranarayana Pillai, executive officer, were among those who were present.
The bright star, Makarajyoti, was sighted in the eastern horizon of the Sabarimala Sannidhanam, later, in the afternoon. Pilgrims worshiped the Makarajyoti with folded hands from the nook and cranny of the thickly packed Sannidhanam.
The procession carrying the sacred jewellery of the presiding deity, Thiruvabharanam, reached the Sannidhanam to a rousing reception by 6.15 pm.
The Union Minister, Devaswom Minister, and TDB authorities received the Thiruvabharanam on its arrival at the temple premises. The Tantri and Melsanthi took the jewellery and decorated the Ayyappa idol with it prior to the deeparadhana held at 6.32 pm.
The Makaravilakku deeparadhana was performed at Ponnambalamedu a few mintues after the deeeparadhana held at the Ayyappa Temple.
Makaravilakkku flickered thrice atop the Ponnambalamedu and the pilgrims were taken to a state of divine ecstasy, breaking the brief silence after the deeparadhana.
The police have regulated the pilgrim flow to Sannidhanam from Monday morning with a view to ease the human pressure at the holy hillock.
The pilgrim flow to the holy hillock too was blocked by 1 pm.
A large number of pilgrims have assembled at Pullumedu, Panchalimedu, Parunthumpara, and Attathode too from where they could worship the Makaravilakku deeparadhana performed atop the Ponnambalamedu.