Makara Jyoti today: Heavy rush and tight security in Sabarimala

via Courtesy :Daily Pioneer published on January 13, 2009



Lakhs
of pilgrims put up temporary camps at all available vantage points atop
hills and on meadows on and around Sabarimala to have uninterrupted
Darshan of the Holy Makara Jyoti on the evening of Makara Samkramam
day, Wednesday even as the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa, the temple of
the Goddess of Malikappuram and all associated areas and structures
were put under the tightest ever security cover in history.

The
flow of pilgrims to the Sabarimala temple grew rapidly by Monday
evening and authorities of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB),
administering the temple said the rush was perhaps unprecedented. The
police had to engage measures to control the entry of pilgrims to the
4.5 km track to the shrine at the base camp Pampa itself on Tuesday. An
estimated three crore pilgrims had visited Sabarimala in the 2007-08
Mandalam-Makaravilakku season and the number this season was set to
cross it.

The police advised the pilgrims to avoid putting up
camps to wait for the Jyoti at hazardous areas and special squads were
pressed into service for preventing any such attempts. The pilgrims
were mostly concentrated at Sannidhanam and surroundings,
Pandithavalam, Attathode, Pulmedu, summit of Neelimala, etc for viewing
the Jyoti.

The special Makara Samkrama Pooja, the ultimate
ritual of the pilgrimage season, would be performed at 6.28 pm on
Wednesday after adorning the idol of Ayyappa with the Thiruvabharanam
(holy ornaments) brought from the Valiya Koyikkal palace at Pandalam.
Before the Makara Samkrama Pooja, Deeparadhana, worship by lights,
would be held after putting the ornaments on the idol.

Almost
2,700 police personnel had been deployed at various points in
Sabarimala additionally as part of enhancing the security arrangements.
Strict security checks were being conducted at all entry points of
pilgrims in the context of the several threats received and the recent
terror attacks in the country. Police personnel from Tamil Nadu and
Andhra Pradesh also had been deployed at Sannidhanam and other places.

As
part of the Makaravilakku festival, the famous Pampa Deepam and Pampa
Sadya were held at the base camp for Sabarimala on Tuesday. The
Thiruvabharanam procession from Pandalam would reach Pampa by Wednesday
evening.

The procession carrying the three chests containing the
Thiruvabharanam left Pandalam at about 1.30 pm Monday and reached the
Sree Parthasarathi Temple at Aranmula on the same evening. The
procession for Thioruvabharanam chests, being escorted by a 23-man team
and several devotees, halted at the Puthiyakavu temple at Ayiroor on
Monday night.

On Tuesday night, the procession halted at the
Forest Department’s inn at Lhaha, and would start its third and last
lap on the journey to Sabarimala early Wednesday morning. The
procession would reach Saramkuthi, the summit of the Pampa-Sannidhanam
trek by 5.30 and the ornaments would be put on the deity by 6.00 pm,
after which the Makara Samkrama Pooja would take place.

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