Lakhs witness 'celestial light' in Sabarimala

Lakhs witness 'celestial light' in Sabarimala

Lakhs of people witnessed 'makaravilaku' (sighting of the celestial light) on the horizon at the Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayappa here Monday.

The sighting of the celestial light is the most important and auspicious event of the two-month pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was at Sabarimala town Sunday evening to oversee arrangements for the sighting. Over 3,500 police personnel were present to regulate the crowds.

The Sabarimala temple is on the Western Ghats, 4 km uphill from Pamba river in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala.

The temple, which bars the entry of women who have attained puberty, is accessible only on foot from Pamba.

According to the Travancore Devasom Board, the custodian of the temple, this season's collections from devotees crossed Rs.150 crore, up by Rs.10 crore from the previous season.

Over 100 people were killed in a stampede at the temple during the celestial sighting two years ago.