Legions await glow of ‘Makaravilakku’ today
The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple shrine at Sabarimala in Kerala, said it was set for the annual Makaravilakku festival on Monday
Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple shrine at Sabarimala in Kerala, said it was set for the annual 'Makaravilakku' festival on Monday.
TDB president A Padmakumar Sunday met media persons after a review. He said all arrangements for the festival have been completed at Sabarimala.
"Thiruvabharanam (sacred jewels of the deity) will reach 'pathinettampadi' (holy 18th step) at 6 pm on Monday. At 6.30 pm, the 'deeparadhana' (worship with lamps) will take place with the Lord being adorned with the jewels. All facilities for the devotees to witness the 'Makaravilakku' and 'Makarajyothi' are in place," he said.
'Makarajyothi' is a star which is worshipped by pilgrims on Makara Sankranti on January 14 every year. It is the star Sirius located in Canis Major constellation.
It is believed that Lord Ayyappa asserts himself as the Makarajyothi to bless his devotees. The flame appears on the Ponnambalamedu hill which is around 8 km from the shrine. The lighting of the lamp by the Kerala government with the support of the Travancore Devaswom Board and Forest Department, at Ponnamabalamedu, is the continuation of the practice followed by tribal families who lived near the hilltop.
Padmakumar also said the state health department and police at Sabarimala and nearby areas were ready to deal with any untoward incident. "The temple will close on January 20. Only the members of the royal family of Pandalam are allowed on that day. The last day for other devotees is January 19," he said. However, compared to 2018, Sabarimala has witnessed a lean crowd for the annual festival this time. Devotees are apprehensive of the eruption of violent protests should any more women of menstrual age attempt to trek the hill during the festival.
Owing to the earlier violence witnessed at the hilltop shrine over the issue of entry of women, the police have strengthened security at Sabarimala, Pampa and its base camp at Nilackal.
Meanwhile, the three-member monitoring committee appointed by the Kerala High Court, comprising former High Court Justices P R Raman, S Sirijagan and Additional Director General of Police A Hemachandran, inspected Nilackal, Pampa and Sannidhanam.