Hundreds of pilgrims waiting at base camps

Hundreds of pilgrims coming from different parts of South India are camping at Pampa, Erumely, Nilackal, Pandalam, and various other base camps awaiting the opening of the Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala for the Makarvilakku festival on Monday.

Majority of the pilgrims who reached Pampa and other base camps during the past three days were unaware of the closing of the temple for three days.

The pilgrims were not permitted to the trekking path from December 27 to facilitate hassle-free cleaning.

Pilgrims have already started their trek to Sabarimala through the Karimala route. They will be permitted to enter the Pampa-Sannidhanam path only on Monday afternoon.

The Fire and Rescue Force personnel and workers attached to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) have cleaned the temple premises.

Temple head priest (Melsanthi) P.N. Narayanan Namboodiri will open the sanctum sanctorum in the presence of chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Maheswararu at 5.30 p.m. on Monday. The rituals will begin after the Ganapati homam on Tuesday morning.

Sanitation workers of the Sabarimala Sanitation Society have completed their three-day cleaning drive at the Sannidhanam and Pampa on Sunday.

The ‘Petta Thullal’ by the Ambalappuzha and Alangad groups will be held at Erumeli on January 11.

Thiruvabharanam, the sacred jewellery of the presiding deity at the Ayyappa Temple, will be taken out in a procession to Sabarimala from Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple on January 12 afternoon for the Makaravilakku festival to be celebrated on January 14. The Thiruvabharanam procession will reach the Sannidhanam through the traditional path via Valiyanavattom and Saramkuthi by 6.30 p.m.

The presiding deity will be adorned with the sacred jewellery prior to the Deeparadhana to be held at 6.40 p.m.

The customary ‘Pampa Sadya’ and ‘Pampa Vilakku’ will be celebrated on January 13.

The sighting of the Makarajyoti, a celestial star, on the eastern horizon of the Sannidhanam, followed by the Deeparadhana (Makaravilakku) atop Ponnambalamedu, a distant hill facing Sabarimala, will be the highlight of the day.

The Kalabhabhishekom ritual marking the culmination of the Neyyabhishekom offering to the presiding deity will be performed prior to the Utchapuja on January 18.

The Guruti ritual to propitiate the ‘Bhoothagana’ of Lord Ayyappa will be performed at Malikappuram on January 19 evening.

The Ayyappa temple will be closed immediately after the customary holy darshan exclusively for the royal representative at 7 a.m. on January 20, marking the culmination of the annual Makaravilakku festival.

The royal representative will start his return journey to Pandalam, escorting the Thiruvabharanam, later.