Sabarimala: Kerala Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan has announced that the traditional forest path through Karimala to Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala will be reopened to pilgrims from December 31.
Out of a total of 35 km of forest road, 18 km from Azhutha to Pamba cross the Periyar Tiger Reserve. This road has been cleaned to allow the movement of pilgrims.
Travel on the forest road will only be authorized during a particular time slot as a precaution against wild animals.
Only those who start their journey from Erumeli between 5.30 am and 10.30 am can reach Pamba before dark.
According to the new rule, pilgrims must pass through Azhutha before noon. Those who reach Azhutha later will not be allowed to go further.
Each day, only a maximum of 10,000 pilgrims will be allowed to use this route. Pilgrims should travel in groups to avoid attacks from wild animals.
Minister K Radhakrishnan has announced that he is briefing the media on decisions taken at a high-level meeting held at the Sannidhanam temple complex, to review arrangements for the Makaravilakku festival next month.
Makaravilakku, the ‘deeparadhana’ (aarthi) ritual held in Ponnambalamedu is held as part of the annual festivities. The flame is lit as a continuation of the practice followed by the tribal families who live near the top of the hill.
Ponnambalamedu, the hill facing the shrine, is about 8 km away. Watching makaravilakku is considered auspicious.
Makaravilakku will take place on January 14.
END OF THE MANDALA SEASON
The temple observed the Mandala Pooja on Sunday. Thousands of Ayyappa devotees had their darshan at the temple on the last day of the 41-day mandala season.
The arrangement for Mandala Pooja began after completing Neyyabhishekam at 10 a.m. The temple was opened at 12:40 after adorning the deity of “Thanka Anki”.
Kandararu Mahesh Mohanar led the rituals.
After “Athazha Pooja”, Melsanthi N Parameshwaran Namboodiri directed “Bhasma Abhishekam” on the divinity Ayyappa. The temple was closed after adorning the deity with “Japa Maala” and “Mudra Vadi”.
The temple will reopen on December 30 at 5 p.m. for the Makaravilakku festival.
The temple will be closed on January 20 at the end of the Makaravilakku pilgrimage.