The two-month annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrim season at Sabarimala came to a close with the Guruti ritual at Malikappuram on Saturday evening.
The Ayyappa temple witnessed heavy rush on Saturday as hundreds of devotees undertook the pilgrimage to the temple on the last day of the season.
Padipuja, Udayasthamanpuja, Ashtabhishekom and Pushpabhishekom were performed at the Sannidhanam on Saturday.
Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru assisted by Melsanthi V.N. Vasudevan Namboodiri, performed the Padipuja at the 18 steps (Pathinettampady) after the Pushpabhishekom in the evening.
The temple was closed with the Melsanthi singing the sacred lullaby Harivarasanam, Viswa-mohanam… after the Athazhapuja.
The Guruti ritual to propitiate the cohorts (Bhoothagana) of Ayyappa was performed at Malikappuram in the evening, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage season.
Royal representative of the Pandalam Palace P. Raghava Varma and Sabarimala Executive Officer D. Sudheeshkumar supervised the Guruti ritual reminiscing the ‘bali’ ritual of the yore.
The five-day customary Vilakkinezhunnellippu procession in the last lap of the Makaravilakku festival concluded with a procession to Saramkuthi on the trekking path from the Manimandapam at Malikappuram on Friday night.
The Melsanthi will open the Ayyappa shrine at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday to facilitate darshan exclusively for the royal representative. No one other than the royal designate will be permitted to enter the temple ‘sopanam’ on the occasion.
The temple will be closed by 6.45 a.m. and the royal representative will soon descend the 18 steps to escort the Thiruvabharanam back to the Pandalam Palace in a ceremonial procession.
The Thiruvabharanam procession will reach Pandalam on January 24 forenoon.