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Kerala: Sabarimala temple gears up for ‘Makaravilakku’ festival

SABARIMALA: Sabarimala temple in Kerala gears up for its annual ‘Makaravilakku’ festival today. The temple and its premises that used to be jam-packed with over a lakh pilgrims normally, will only see 5,000 pilgrims this time owing to the pandemic situation.

Makaravilakku, a lamp lit in the forest areas of Ponnambalamedu on the mountain surrounding the hill shrine, and Makarajyothi, the star that appears in the sky are the highlights of the Makaravilakku festival.

The Makaravilakku will appear at around 6.45 p.m. Devotees are allowed in temple till 19th of January. The temple will be closed on 20th at 6.30 a.m. with the conclusion of the Makaravilakku festival season.

The hill abode of Lord Ayyappa here is all set for the Makaravilakku ceremony, the most auspicious ritual of the annual pilgrimage season, to be held after adorning the idol with the Thiruvabharanam — the sacred gold ornaments brought from the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sree Dharma Sas tha temple on Thursday.

Thantri Kandararu Rajivaru will perform the deeparadhana in the presence of melsanthi Jayaraj Potti at 6.40pm. After the deeparadhana, a star will be visible to the east of the temple, marking the auspicious time of the sun moving from ‘dakshinayanam’ to ‘utharanayanam’.

Before that, the Thiruvabharanam procession will be given a traditional reception at Saramkuthi at 5.30pm by a devaswom team led by Sabarimala devaswom administrative officer Rajendran Nair. The team carrying the Thiruvabharanam will be led in a procession to the Sannidhanam accompanied by artists playing temple percussion instruments. The Travancore Devaswom Board president and members will receive the procession in front of golden flag mast of the temple.

Malikappuram procession

The annual five-day customary procession carrying the ‘Thidambu’, the Sreebali idol, of Malikappuram Devi will be taken out from the Malikappuram temple to Lower Thirumuttom near Holy Steps after the deeparadhana at the Lord Ayyappa and Malikappuram Devi temples at 7.30pm.

Sudhikriyas conclude

The two-day sudhikriyas (purification rites) concluded on Wednesday at the Lord Ayyappa temple ahead of the Makaravilakku ceremony. The two-day purification ceremony, including idol purification rites, was performed by thantri Rajivaru in the presence of melsanthi Jayaraj Potti.

Padi pooja from Jan 16 to 18

The Padi pooja ritual will be performed at the Ayyappa temple for three days from January 16. The hour-long ritual will be performed  by thantri Rajivaru in the presence of melsanthi Jayaraj Potti at 7pm

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