Sabarimala: A sea of devotees witness Makara Jyoti

Makara Jyoti
Pilgrims crowd at Sabarimala to witness 'Makara Jyoti' (right) on Friday. Screengrab: Manorama News

Sabarimala: A sea of devotees arrived at the Lord Ayyappa Temple here and witnessed the 'Makara Jyoti' over the Ponnambalamedu Friday evening.

Devasom officials said roughly 70,000 devotees were present for darshan on the occasion of the 'Makaravilakku' festival and to witness the 'jyoti'.

Facilities to view the 'Makara Jyoti' were arranged at Parunthumpara and Panchalimedu. The Revenue Department had set up barricades while the police and health officials were deployed at these spots during the event.

The procession carrying the ‘Thiruvabharanam’ (holy ornaments) of Lord Ayyappa, had arrived at Sannidhanam by 6.30 pm. The chief priest of the temple (melsanthi) and the tantri received the ornaments and adorned the deity.

Earlier, as part of the event, ghee was brought from Kowdiar Palace in Thiruvananthapuram at 2.39 pm, which was calculated as the time of 'Makara Samkramam', marking the Sun’s transit into ‘Makara rasi’ or the zodiac sign of Capricorn.

The ritual of 'deeparadhana' took place between 6.30-6.45 pm, following which the ‘Makara Jyoti’ appeared on the Ponnambalamedu hill – situated 8 km away – facing the temple.

Considering the COVID-19 situation in the state, restrictions had been put in force. Pilgrims were banned from setting up ‘parnasalas’ (huts). However, devotees had thronged Sannidhanam, Pamba and all other areas.

Authorities had banned the entry of pilgrims to Pullumedu, a grassland from where the light could be viewed. During the previous Makaravilakku festival also similar restrictions were imposed.


Pamba ‘vilakku’, ‘sadya’
Earlier on Thursday, the Pamba ‘vilakku’ and ‘sadya’ rituals as part of the pilgrimage were conducted on the banks of the Pamba River. The ‘sadya’, a feast comprising several tasty dishes, was served in the afternoon and the ‘vilakku’, a ritual where lighted lamps made of bamboo are floated on the river, took place after sunset.

After these rituals, teams of pilgrims from Alangad and Ambalappuzha started their climb from Pamba to the temple situated on the hilltop at Sannidhanam.

At the temple, Karthik, a young boy making the pilgrimage for the first time (Kanni Ayyappan), handed over the items brought from the Kowdiar Palace and to be offered to the deity during ‘Makara Sankramam’, to the chief priest.

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