Mandala pooja at Shabrimala today

The first phase of the two-month long Sabarimala pilgrimage will culminate with the Mandala pooja scheduled between 12:15 pm and 12:30 pm on Wednesday.

The specially crafted wooden boxes enclosing the gold ornaments “Thanka Anki” of Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity at Sabarimala, reached the  shrine on Tuesday evening.

The ornaments weighing 420 sovereigns was offered by the late Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the last ruler of the Travancore princely state in 1973. The boxes were brought in a jeep converted into a makeshift chariot in a procession from Aranmula temple to Pampa base camp. Later, the boxes were carried on head by volunteers of Ayyappa Seva Sangha.
They were received by the representatives of TDB , the administrative body which manages the temple, at the entrance to the hill shrine.  

The temple will be closed after “Athazhapooja” (the rite of offering supper to the presiding deity) in the evening marking the end of the 41-day “Mandalam” pilgrimage season.

The shrine will reopen on December 30 for the second phase of the pilgrimage know as the “Makaravilakku” festival. The annual pilgrimage season will end on January 14, 2013, with the “Makara Sankrama” pooja.

For the past week, Sabarimala is witnessing a heavy inflow of pilgrims literally keeping the security personnel on their toes.

However, in the early weeks of the “Mandalam”, the inflow was relatively low compared to previous seasons. There is a noticeable fall in the number of pilgrims from neighbouring states, especially Tamil Nadu and various reasons are being attributed.

Meanwhile, unlike previous years, the TDB is yet to disclose the revenue generated so far during the annual pilgrimage.

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