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Updated January 1st, 2024 at 14:04 IST

Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple opens for Makaravilakku festival amid massive pilgrim turnout

The Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala commenced the Makaravilakku festival with rituals. According to reports, the influx of devotees remained high.

Reported by: Digital Desk
   Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple opens for Makaravilakku
Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala temple opens for Makaravilakku | Image:X
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Thiruvananthapuram: The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala opened for the Makaravilakku festival and saw a lot of people visiting on New Year's Day. The shrine opened at 3 am, and rituals were performed where the idol of Lord Ayyappa was anointed with ghee from 18,018 coconuts after the nirmalyam and abhishekam rituals.

Led by Chief Priest P N Mahesh Namboothiri, the ghee anointing (Neyyabhishekam) was performed under the supervision of the tantri (head priest) Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu. The ghee anointing (Neyyabhishekam) was a contribution from four devotees from Bengaluru - Vishnusaran Bhat, Unnikrishnan Potti, Ramesh Rao, and Dorai.

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According to an official release, 20,000 coconuts filled with ghee at Pamba Ganapati temple, were prepared for the Neyyabhishekam and transported to the hill shrine on a tractor. Notably, on January 1, 2021, a similar ritual was performed with 18,018 ghee-filled coconuts.

Given the rush of pilgrims, elaborate security arrangements were made at the temple under the leadership of DIG Thomson Jose and Sannidhanam Police special officer, R Anand. The Lord Ayyappa temple was opened for the Makaravilakku pilgrimage season on Saturday evening.

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Various rituals, including 'prasada shudha kriya' and 'bimba shudha kriya', will be held on January 13 and 14 ahead of the Makaravilakku festival on January 15, said the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the apex temple body managing the hill shrine.

Devotees will witness the reception of the 'thiruvabharanam' (the sacred ornaments) at the Sannidhanam (temple complex), and the 'deeparadhana', adorning Lord Ayyappa idol with jewels, on Makaravilakku day. After the Makaravilakku darshan, the hill shrine will remain open till January 20 for pilgrims to offer prayers.

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(With PTI inputs)

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Published January 1st, 2024 at 13:06 IST

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