Sabarimala shrine closes after Mandalam Pooja

via PNS | Pathanamthitta published on December 26, 2008

Unprecedented rush of pilgrims was witnessed at the Lord Ayyappa temple of Sabarimala during the Mandalam Pooja on Friday noon, which marked the culmination of the 41-day Mandalam pilgrimage season that began on November 16. The sanctum sanctorum was closed after the nightly poojas at 10.00 pm to be reopened on December 30 for the 21-day Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.

The Pooja at noon was performed under the leadership of Tanthri (traditional chief priest) Kantararu Rajeevaru and Melshanthi (main priest) P Vishnu Namboothiri. The Pooja process started by 11.00 am after the Melsanthi brought the holy Kalasam from the Eastern threshold of the temple to the sanctum sanctorum and the Kalakhabhikshekam on the idol of Lord Ayyappa.

Then the Manadala Pooja was performed at 12:30 pm with the idol decked up in the golden robes (Thanka Anki) brought from the Sree Parthasarathi temple, Aranmula, to the chanting of Lord Ayyappa’s praises by thousands of pilgrims present at Sannidhanam. The Thanka Anki was put on the idol before the evening Pooja on Thursday.

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

The sanctum sanctorum would now open for the Makaravilakku season, when maximum rush of pilgrims would be felt at Sabraimala. The Thiruvabharana Ghoshayathra (procession carrying the holy ornaments to be adorned on the idol of Lord Ayyappa) would leave the pandalam palace on January 12. The Makra Jyoti Darasanam will be on the evening of January 14, coinciding with the Makara Samkrama Pooja, when the crowds of devotees would reach maximum density. The sanctum sanctorum will close for the season on January 20.

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