Sabarimala | In an atmosphere of religious fervour and gaiety, thousands of devotees converged to offer worship at the famed Lord Ayyappa temple here on the auspicious occasion of ‘Makaravilakku’ this evening, marking the culmination of over two-months-long pilgrimage.
The holy hill of Sabarimala, atop which the Ayyappa temple is located and the banks of river Pampa reverberated with chants of Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa by pilgrims who flocked there from across the country. The portals of the shrine was thrown open after the ‘deeparadhana’ (arti) in the evening. The ‘makara jyothi’, held as a divine light by devotees, flickered across the eastern horizon above the Ponnambalamedu soon after the ‘arati’.
Devotees, including senior citizens, aged women and children, queued with folded hands for hours to have a glimpse of the presiding deity, who was adorned with ‘Thiruvabharanam’, the holy jewels which were brought here in a ceremonial procession moments before the ‘arati’.
The procession carrying the jewels in wooden caskets had begun a couple of days earlier from the Pandalam palace where, according to legend, Lord Ayyappa was born and spent his childhood. The hillock had been witnessing heavy rush of devotees, especially from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka besides Kerala over the last few days.
Hundreds of devotees camped atop the hill in make-shift tents and shacks for some days to have ‘darshan’ of the deity. The state government made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the finale of the pilgrimage.
Hundreds of policemen, disaster management personnel, doctors and paramedics were deployed at the temple town as part of the arrangements.
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