Guruti ritual performed at Malikappuram
The two-month long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season at Sabarimala came to a close with the ritualistic Guruti at Malikappuram on Saturday.
The Ayyappa Temple continued to witness heavy rush on Saturday, too, as hundreds of devotees from different parts of South India undertook the pilgrimage to the forest shrine on the last day of the festival season.
Padipuja, Udayasthamanpuja, Ashtabhishekom and Pushpabhishekom were the important rituals performed at the Sannidhanam on Saturday.
Temple chief priest (Tantri), Kandararu Rajeevararu, assisted by head priest (Melsanthi) N. Damodaran Potti, performed the Padipuja at the holy 18 steps (Pathinettampady) after the Pushpabhishekom (offering with flowers) in the evening. The Ayyappa shrine was then closed with the Melsanthi singing the sacred lullaby, ‘Harivarasanam, viswamohanam….’
The Guruti ritual, to propitiate the ‘Bhoothagana’ of Lord Ayyappa, was performed at Malikappuram, immediately after the closure of the Ayyappa Temple in the evening, marking the culmination of the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage season. Royal representative of the Pandalam Palace Ashoka Varma Raja, and Sabarimala Executive Officer K. Sankaranarayana Pillai, supervised the ritual reminiscing the ‘bali’ ritual of the yore.
The five-day customary procession ( Ezhunnellathu ) in the last lap of the Makaravilakku festival came to a close with the ceremonial procession to Saramkuthi on the trekking path from Malikappuram Devi Temple on Friday late night.
The Melsanthi will open the Ayyappa Temple at 6.30 am on Sunday to help the royal representative offer exclusive prayers to the deity before he climbs down the holy hillock.
None other than the Raja will be permitted to enter the temple sopanam on the occasion.
The temple will be closed by 7.15 a.m. and the royal representative will descend the holy 18 steps with the Thiruvabharanam for taking it back to Pandalam Palace.
The Thiruvabharanam procession will return to Pandalam on January 24 forenoon.