Alappuzha: In an atmosphere charged with devotion, the Ambalappuzha Sangham, a group of Sabarimala-bound pilgrims kicked off their ritualistic journey for the Erumeli Petta Thullal (ritualistic dance) from the Sree Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha, on Sunday.
As per the belief, the Ambalappuzha Sangham, which draws its lineage from the Amblappuzha warriors, had assisted Lord Ayyappa in a battle and had been conferred with the right to lead the Petta Thullal by the erstwhile Pandalam royal family through a decree.
During a ceremony held here in the morning, temple head priest Kannamangalam Kesavan Nampoothiri handed over the golden thidambu (idol of Lord Ayyappa) to ‘Samooha Periyon’ N Gopalakrishna Pillai, who leads the group. This was followed by a procession carrying the idol in a specially decorated chariot.
Marking the beginning of their journey, a sacred eagle flew high above the sky. On the first day, the group will visit the temples across the seven villages around Ambalappuzha and will return to the temple here late in the evening. The group consisting of about 300 devotees will visit various temples in the next ten days.
The group will begin their onward journey to Erumeli on Monday morning and will be accorded receptions in over a hundred temples and NSS Karayogam units en route. After spending the Monday night at Kaviyoor temple, the group will reach the Manimalakkavu Devi temple the next day and will perform 'aazhi' pooja before arriving at Erumeli and participating in the annual Petta Thullal ceremony on January 12.
The famed Pamba Sadhya will be held on January 14. The group will offer ‘Neyyabhishekam’ at Sabarimala on Makaravilakku. The Mahanivedyam ritual will be held immediately after the Athazhapuja on the Makaravilakku day. The team will return from the hillock after the Sheeveli Ezhunnallethu at the Malikappuram Mani Mandapam and the Karpurazhi Puja on Saturday evening.
Ambalappuzha Sangham office bearers R Gopakumar, N Madhavan Kutty Nair, K Chandrakumar, G Sreekumar, C Vijaya Mohan, and R Madu etc will lead the 10-day long pilgrimage.