Mandalam Pooja at Sabarimala tomorrow

via PNS | Pathanamthitta published on December 24, 2008



Rush
of pilgrims reached its zenith at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala
as the 41-day Mandalam pilgrimage season was to culminate on Friday
noon. Officials of the Travancore Devswom Board, which was in charge of
the administration of the temple, that all preparations had been
completed for the most important day of the season.

The Mandalam
pooja would be performed at 12.30 pm Friday, the eleventh day of the
month of Dhanu of the Malayalam calendar, after adorning the idol of
Ayyappa in the sanctum sanctorum with the golden robe (Thanka Anki)
brought from the Sri Parthasarathy temple, Aranmula. The Thanka Anki
would be put on the idol before the evening Pooja on Thursday.

The
Thanka Anki brought by a procession that left the Aranmula temple on
Monday morning, would reach Pampa by Thursday noon where it would be
received with the prescribed rites and would be taken uphill to the
Lord Ayyappa temple. On Thursday evening it would be received by the
Devaswom authorities at Saramkuthi, the summit along the trek to the
Ayyappa temple and they would take it to Sannidhanam.

The
sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ayyappa temple would close on Friday
night at the conclusion of the Mandalam pilgrimage season for the
recession before the Makaravilakku season. It would then reopen for the
Makaravilakku pilgrimage season on the evening of December 30.

This
would the season when maximum rush of pilgrims would be felt at
Sabramala. The Makra Jyoti Darasanam will be on the evening of January
14, coinciding with the Makara Samkrama Pooja, when the crowd of
devotees would reach its maximum density. The sanctum sanctorum will
close for the season on January 20.

Officials at Sannidhanam
said all arrangement for the big day had been completed. K Jayakumar
IAS, chairman of the high-level committee appointed to ensure the
smooth conduct of the pilgrimage, said that all measures had been taken
to avoid problems in the last days of pilgrimage.

He said
there would be no shortcomings in the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage
in the final days. The official said that the biggest concern, apart
from crowd control and safety of pilgrims, was the availability of
sufficient stock Appam and Aravana, the chief Prasadams of the temple
but added that he was satisfied with the situation.

“There have
been no problems so far in the distribution of Aravana in this season.
There was some hiccup in between that occurred due to some technical
complication but that had been rectified. Similarly, the Appam
situation also is satisfactory. The problems in the manufacture have
already been solved,” he said.

Officials said security
arrangements had already been enhanced in view of the threat
perceptions in the context of the recent terror attacks in the country.
They said scanners had been installed at all vital points and the
entire stretch of trek from Pampa to Sannidhanam had been networked
through close circuit television.

Sufficient police personnel
had already been arranged at all the vital points and metal detectors
had been installed. Detailed scanning would be done for each pilgrim.
This could cause some inconvenience but steps had been taken to ensure
that security arrangements did not become a hassle for the devotees.

Rapid
Action Force personnel and commandos had also been deployed and
surveillance over the forest area surrounding Sannidhanam also was
being carried out efficiently. The traditional 44-km jungle trek from
Erumeli to Pampa was also brought under enhanced security and police
patrols had been organised on this route.

Meanwhile, the
Assembly Petitions Committee could visit Sabarimala on December 29 and
30 to directly observe the inconveniences and difficulties faced by the
pilgrims and to formulate recommendations to solve them.

The
committee would hold sittings at Pampa at 3.00 pm on December 29 and at
10.00 am on the next day at Sannidhanam to collect evidences and
statements from officials of different departments.

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