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Sabarimala Temple witnesses high turnout as pilgrims flock for New Year's celebrations


Sabarimala temple experienced a surge in pilgrim arrivals on New Year's Day, following its opening for the Makaravilakku festival a couple of days earlier, officials confirmed on Monday.

The temple's gates opened at 3 am, initiating the day with an anointment ritual of Lord Ayyappa's idol using ghee obtained from 18,018 coconuts, following customary nirmalyam and abhishekam rituals.

Led by Chief Priest P N Mahesh Namboothiri, the ghee anointing, known as Neyyabhishekam, was executed under the supervision of the tantri, Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu. The ghee was contributed by four devotees from Bengaluru: Vishnusaran Bhat, Unnikrishnan Potti, Ramesh Rao, and Dorai.

A release stated that 20,000 coconuts, filled with ghee at the Pamba Ganapati temple, were readied for the Neyyabhishekam and transported to the hill shrine via tractor. Remarkably, a similar ritual involving 18,018 ghee-filled coconuts was conducted on January 1, 2021.

Considering the influx of pilgrims, extensive security arrangements were implemented at the temple, led by DIG Thomson Jose and Sannidhanam Police special officer, R Anand. The temple had opened for the Makaravilakku pilgrimage season on Saturday evening.

As per the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the apex temple body managing the hill shrine, several rituals such as 'prasada shudha kriya' and 'bimba shudha kriya' are scheduled for January 13 and 14, leading up to the Makaravilakku festival on January 15.

During the festivities, devotees will witness the reception of the 'thiruvabharanam' (sacred ornaments) at the temple complex and the 'deeparadhana,' adorning the Lord Ayyappa idol with jewels. Post the Makaravilakku darshan, the hill shrine will remain open until January 20 for devotees to offer prayers.

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TAGS:Sabarimala TempleMakaravilakku festivalMakaravilakku
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