Mandala puja held at Sabarimala, temple to reopen on 30 December for Makaravilakku

The Mandala puja marks the culmination of the 41-day-long first leg of the annual pilgrimage to the hill shrine in Kerala.


Published Dec 27, 2022 | 4:25 PM Updated Dec 27, 2022 | 4:25 PM

The Sabarimala airport is proposed to be set up on around 2,570 acres of land in Erumeli in Kottayam district. (Creative Commons)

A large number of devotees thronged the famed Sabarimala temple in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, on Tuesday, 27 December, seeking the blessings of Lord Ayyappa as auspicious Mandala puja was held at the hillock shrine in the afternoon, marking the culmination of the 41-day-long first leg of the annual pilgrimage season.

The puja was performed under the aegis of tantri (head priest) Kandararu Rajeevaru after adorning the idol of the principal deity with thanka anki, the sacred golden attire brought at the Sannidhanam (temple complex) on Monday, 26 December, evening.

Special rituals including kalabhabhishekam and kalasabhishekam were held as devotees waited in long queues chanting Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa to have a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa on the auspicious occasion.

Prominent officials of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) were present before the sanctum sanctorum when the ceremonies were held.

The temple was closed soon after the Mandala puja and it would be opened in the evening for devotees to offer prayers before closing in the night.

The shrine would be closed for three days and will be reopened on 30 December at 5 pm for the Makaravilakku ceremonies, the second leg of the pilgrimage season.

Also read: Kerala restricts the number of pilgrims to Sabarimala

Makaravilakku on 14 January

The Makaravilakku ritual will be held on 14 January 2023. Thereafter, the shrine would be closed on 20 January marking the end of the annual pilgrimage season.

Earlier in the day, Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan said despite the huge turnout of devotees, the Mandala puja period went off well without much complaint.

Over 30 lakh devotees have reached the hillock shrine during the 41-day-long season. Still, things went well through the coordinated efforts of various government departments, he told reporters after attending a review meeting at the guest house here.

The TDB, the apex temple body which manages the shrine, said ₹222.98 crore in revenue was generated by the shrine in the past 39 days of the two-month-long annual pilgrimage season.

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