Thousands witness Mandala Pooja in Sabarimala

via Kaumudi published on December 27, 2006

SABARIMALA: Thousands of devotees thronged the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple today to offer worship on the occasion of Mandala Pooja, marking the finale of the first phase of the hill shrine’s pilgrimage season that began in mid-November.

The Sannidhanam atop the Sabari hills and foothill Pampa reverberated with devotional chants as the pooja was performed to the Ayyappa idol adorned with the glittering ‘golden attire–Thanka Anki.’ Temple tantri (traditional high priest) Kantararu Rajivaru and chief priest Eswaran Namboodiri led the pooja and other related rituals.

The procession carrying the thanka anki had reached the temple from Aaranmula in Pathanamthitta district yesterday. The golden attire was dedicated to Ayyappa by the Travancore royal family a few decades back.

As the temple had been witnessing heavy rush in arrival of pilgrims in the last fortnight, crowd control and security measures had been tightened for which hundreds of police personnel had been engaged.

According to Travancore Devaswom Board authorities, there had been a 10 per cent increase in the cash offerings also, touching Rs 53 crore so far.

The temple would be reopened for the Makaravilakku season on December 30, which would culminate on January 14.

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