Rituals at the Ayappan temple begin today

Rituals at the Ayappan temple begin today

Rituals at the Ayappan temple begin today

Heavy rush of devotees from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were witnessed at the sanctum sanctorum when the Lord Ayappa temple opened last evening for the two-month Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.

Elaborate arrangements have been made by the Travancore Devaswom Board administering the hill shrine and various government departments for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage season.

The rituals began with the Chief priest Kandararu Maheswararu performing the 'Ashtadravya Ganapati' homam followed by 'Ashtabhishekom' and 'Neyyabhishekom' (ghee offering).

About three crore devotees are expected to trek the holy hillock during the season, additional chief secretary, K Jayakumar, who is the Special Commissioner for Sabarimala.

He said a buffer stock of 19 lakh cans of Aravana prasadasm (a sweet delicacy) were prepared and production of appam started few days back.

The work of roofing of 'Nadappanthal' (a pandal) on the northern side of Sannidhanam (sanctum sanctorum) was completed.Self-contained toilet blocks were provided at various points along the Pampa-Marakkoottam trekking path, besides resting places at Appachimedu and Sabaripeethom, TDB chief engineer K Ravikumar said.

The health department opened dispensaries at Pampa and Sannidhanam. Sree Ayyappa Medical Centre at Pampa opened by Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi provides advanced health care facilties.