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The Melsanthi, G.Vishnu Namboodiri, opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 pm in the presence of the Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, Devaswom Executive Officer, V.S.Jayakumar and other TDB officials.
Hundreds of pilgrims from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and from different parts of the State have been camping at Pampa and Nilackal since the past three days, awaiting the temple reopening.
Pilgrims were permitted to climb the Neelimala only on Wednesday morning.
The rituals will begin with the Tantri performing Ganapati homom on Thursday morning followed by Ashtabhishekom and Neyyabhishekom.
The customary Petta-thullal at Erumely by the Ambalappuzha and Alangadu teams will be held on January 11.
The ceremonial procession carrying the Thiruvabharanam, sacred jewellery, for the Makaravilakku festival will set off to Sabarimala from the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple on January 12.
The customary Pampa-Vilakku and Pampa-Sadya will be held on the banks of river Pampa on the foothills on January 13.
Sighting of the celestial star, Makara, on the eastern horizon of the Sannidhanam and a bright flame, `Makara-jyoti’, that usually flickers thrice on a remote hillside facing the Ayyappa Temple will take place immediately after the deeparadhana.
Tens of thousands of Ayyappa devotees used to throng the pilgrim centre to witness the Makara-jyoti, which, they consider the most auspicious event at Sabarimala.
Kalabhabhishekom and Guruti
The Kalabhabhishekom, marking the culmination of the Neyyabhishekom offering to the presiding deity during the Makaravilakku festival will be performed prior to the Utchapuja on January 18.
The annual Guruti ritual to propitiate the cohorts (Bhoothagana) of Lord Ayyappa will be performed at Malikappuram on January 19 evening.
The Ayyappa shrine will be closed immediately after the exclusive customary holy darshan by the representative of the Pandalam Palace at 7 am on January 20.
RADHAKRISHNAN KUTTOOR || PATHANAMTHITTA, January 15, 2012.
Thousands of devotees worshipped the Makarajyoti, a lone bright star that appeared in the sky just above the Ayyappa Temple complex at Sabarimala Sannidhanam, and the ritualistic deeparadhana held at Ponnambalamedu, a remote hill in the forests facing the Ayyappa shrine, as part of the annual Makaravilakku festival on Sunday evening.
The sacred jewellery, Thiruvabharanam, brought from the Pandalam palace in a customary ceremonial procession reached the Sannidhanam by 6.32 pm. Devaswom Minister, V.S. Sivakumar, Travancore Devaswom Board president, M. Rajagopalan, Nair and other TDB authorities received the sacred attire at the temple premises.
The Guruswami who carried the wooden jewellery box took it to the temple sopanam and handed it over to the chief priest (Tantri). The Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by Melsanthi, N. Balamurali, took the Thiruvabharanam to the sanctum sanctorum and the Ayyappa idol was adorned with the sacred jewellery prior to the deeparadhana performed at the temple at 6.42 pm.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Ayyappa devotees were patiently waiting at the temple premises with folded hands, awaiting the sighting of Makaravilakku, a bright flame, as part of the ritualistic deeparadhana held atop Ponnambalamedu immediately after the deeparadhana performed at the Ayyappa shrine.
The entire Sannidhanam was charged with devotion as ‘Swami Saranam’ mantra rented the air. Devotees were taken to some sort of a divine ecstasy with the sighting of Makaravilakku atop Ponnambalamedu around 6.42 pm.
Drop in pilgrim turn out
There was a marked decline felt in the pilgrim turn out for this year’s Makaravilakku festival owing to various reasons that include the Mullapperiyar imbroglio and the painful memories of last year’s stampede tragedy at Pulmedu.
The State Government’s failure to provide transport facility for the pilgrims to Pulmedu has literally stopped the flow of pilgrims to this hitherto popular Makarajyoti viewing point in the forests, this year.
According to reports received here at 8 pm, hardly a 1,000 devotees were
Still the Sannidhanam and surrounding forest areas witnessed heavy rush of devotees for the Makaravilakku festival on Sunday. This time, the number of present at Pulmedu to worship the Jyoti.
pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka appeared to have been higher than those from Tamil Nadu reportedly owing to the rumours spreading there in connection with the Mullapperiyar agitation.
Supreme Court Judge, Arijit Pasayath; Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi; Malayalam-Tamil actor, Jayaram and K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, were among those attended the annual festival.
Additional Director General of Police, P. Chandrashekharan, told The Hinduthat no untoward incident hhas been reported from any par of Sabarimala or its base camps.
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