Devotees poured in large numbers to witness the Ayilyam ezhunnallathu (procession) held at the renowned Mannarashala Sri Nagaraja Temple here on Ayilyam day on Wednesday.
The devotees’ prayers reached its zenith when the procession carrying the idol of Nagaraja and ‘nagaphanam,’ by the priest of the Temple, Umadevi Antharjanam, and other idols wound its way from the temple to the Mannarashala illam, the house of the family that controls the temple.
The temple and its surrounding areas witnessed heavy rush of devotees from across the State from Wednesday morning itself.
The priest of the temple and the holy mother, Umadevi Antharjanam gave darshan to devotees in the specially erected stage in the illam from 8 a.m. A ‘prasadayoottu’ began at the nearby school grounds from 11 a.m.
The ‘Nagakalam’ was prepared at the illam after the ‘uchcha pooja’ and the priest proceeded to the temple pond to have a bath. After her bath, the priest with her ‘ola kuda’ proceeded to the temple and lit the ‘kuthuvilaku’.
Then began the much awaited ‘Ayilyam ezhunnallathu’ and as it passed through the temple, devotees on both sides stood with folded hands.
Several poojas were conducted till midnight after the idol was placed at the illam. When the senior- most member of the family sought the permission of the priest and holy mother and presented the ‘Noorum palum’ at the ‘thatathil’ in the specially-erected pandal at the illam, this year's Ayilyam festival came to an end.
Various cultural programmes were also held as part of the festival on Wednesday also. The District Collector had declared a holiday for government offices and educational institutions in view of the Ayilyam festival on Wednesday.