With the Ambalappuzha and Alangad teams taking out their ceremonial spiritual dance (Pettathullal) at Erumeli on Friday, in reminiscence of the killing of Mahishi by Lord Ayyappa, this year’s Sabarimala pilgrimage has entered the penultimate phase.
The teams, which will take the traditional forest path to Pampa, will participate in Pamba Vilakku and trek the mountain path to the Sannidhanam to participate in the Makaravilakku festival, falling on January 14.
The Ambalappuzha team, which had arrived at Manimalakavu on Wednesday, reached Erumeli on Thursday. Led by ‘samooha periyor’ Kalathil Chandrasekharan Nair, the team met leaders of the local Jamaat in the evening.
Even as the town witnessed a surge of pilgrims on Friday morning, the Ambalappuzha team waited till noon for the kite (Krishna Parunthu), the ‘vahan’ of the deity at the Ambalappuzha Sreekrishna Swamy temple, to appear in the skies, as a mark of grant of consent for the ceremonial dance to begin. By 12.15 noon, the Ambalappuzha team commenced its dancing to the slow, rhythmic beats within the precincts of the Sri Dharma Sastha temple and moved out and crossed the road to entre the Nainar mosque, the abode of Vavar, the close Muslim lieutenant of Lord Ayyappa in his fight against the demon princess, Mahishi.
The team and its leaders were received with traditional gaiety at the gates of the mosque by the local Jamaat president P.H. Abdul Salam, secretary P.M. Irshad, treasurer C.U. Abdul Kareem, and others. After paying obeisance at the mosque, the team moved to the accompaniment of Pettathullal to the Sree Dharma Sastha temple down the road, where it was received by the temple authorities and leaders of the Travancore Devaswom Board.
The Alangad team commenced its dance in the afternoon after sighting the star in the skies. They did not enter the Nainar Mosque as it is believed that Vavar had moved out of the mosque along with the Ambalappuzha team. Both the teams will converge at the Sree Dharma Sastha temple and dance their way through the forest path to Pampa to participate in Pamba Vilakku and later the Makaravilakku celebrations.