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Dharisaname Saranam Ayyappa !
pated event at Sabarimala is the Makara Jothi
(usually on January 14th). Thiruvabaranam or the sacred jewels
of the Lord (presented by Padalam King) arrives at Sabarimala
in three boxes. On the arrival of the jewel boxes the whole
mountain reverberates to the
chanting of 'Saranam Ayyappa' by millions of
devotees gathered there to watch the event.
The Thiruvabaranam box
- still the private property of the Pandalam royal family, starts
it journey two days before Makara Jothi day from Pandalam. The person
who carries the box dances in a trance that can be believed only
by who witnesses it. Thiruvabaranam
travels through Valiakoikkal Sastha temple at Pandalam, Ayiroor
Puthia Kavu Temple, Perunattil temple, Vlakkai, Nilaikkal Siva temple,
and Sabari Peedam before reaching at Sannidhanam around 6.00 PM
Jothi day. Every year a Garuda hovers and flies above the Thiruvabaranam
boxes as if to guard them.
reaching the Sannidhanam
and Thandhri receive the sacred jewels amidst of thundering echoes
of Sarana ghosham.
The Thiruvabaranam box contains a diamond crown, golden bracelets,
necklaces and a sword. The priests adorn the Lord with these and
At the same moment a brilliant light of amazing magnificence appears
in the northeastern side to the temple at opposite mountain in
a place called Kantamala (the home of devas and rishis). It is
believed that this brilliant flame of light is the arathi performed
by the rishis and the devas. This event marks the culmination
of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
After the jothi, that night Malikappurathuamma, mounted on an
elephant comes in a procession to the Patinettampadi (18 steps
) and returns back to her abode. This is the beginning of the
Makara Vilakku festival. This festival lasts for seven days. Many
pilgrims stay back till this festival is over and Kuruthi pooja
(offering of water mixed with chunnambu and turmeric powder to
the forest deities) is performed.
Even some who leave Sabarimala after witnessing the Jothi observe
fasting till the Makara Villaku and Kuruthi pooja is complete
Mandalapooja, Pankuni Uthram (Lord Birthday) and
Vishu are the other festivals celebrated in Sabarimala with pomp