Special Poojas held at Sabarimala

via PNS | Pathanamthitta published on November 13, 2009

Thousands of devotees from Kerala and outside witnessed the special Pooja rituals held once in every 12 years, at the Lord Ayyappa shrine and the sub-shrines at the famed pilgrim destination of Sabarimala on Friday.

The special Poojas included Kumbhabhishekam started by 8.00 am under the guidance of Kantararu Maheswararu, the traditional head priest of the temple, performed to the accompaniment of percussion ensemble. The ritual was compeleted by 11.00 am.

Kumbabhishekam, performed once in every 12 years, was conducted by pouring water taken from sacred rivers on the “Kalasams” (pitchers) at the Sannidhanam, the abode of Lord Ayyappa, and at the adjacent sub-temples. The preliminary Pujas and Homams, accompanying the purifying ritual, had begun on Thursday.

The Poojas for the purification of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyappa and those of the sub-gods (Upadevatas) necessitated by the repair works in the roof the main shrine and the enveloping of the shrines of the other sub-temples were held on Thursday.

The shrine, which would close on Saturday evening, would reopen on Sunday evening for the main Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season for which the preparations for which continued in full scale at Sabarimala. The authorities of the Travancore Devaswom Board, which was in charge of the administration of the temple, was expecting a minimum of four crore devotees to visit Sabarimala in the season.

Meanwhile, Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachndran said that all preparations for the smooth conduct of this year’s pilgrimage at Sabarimala had been completed. He said sufficient stocks of Appam and Aravana, the chief Prasadams of Lord Ayyappa, had been ensured.

The Minister said that one of the problems recurring during the pilgrimage season was inadequacy of toilets for the pilgrims but all the steps had been taken to solve this problem this time. He also said that steps were being taken to ensure additional coaches in the trains already operating through Kerala to carry pilgrims. At the same time, efforts were being made to get some special trains to meet the rush of pilgrims, he added.

The preparations for this year’s main pilgrimage from the temple authorities’ side had started on October 18 with the appointment of the new Melsanthis (chief priests) for the main shrine of Lord Ayyappa and the adjoining temple of Malikappuram goddess. The new Melsanthis for the Ayyappa shrine and Malikappuram temple were G Vishnu Namboodiri (45) of Cherukol Cheruthala Madhom and KC Madhavan Namboodiri (39) of Cheruvally Illam near Aluva respectively.

Vishnu Namboodiri was elected through a draw of lots from among the ten candidates shortlisted by seven-year-old Hari, Madhavan Namboodiri got elected from among nine candidates by eight-year-old Nikhita Jyoti, after the morning poojas at the hill shrine on Saturday.

The new chief priests would take charge for a year when the Lord Ayyappa shrine opened for the 41-day Mandala pilgrimage season on Sunday evening. The incumbent Melsanthis would leave the hill shrines after the shrine closed on Sunday night.

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