New Delhi: The famous Makaravilakku festival of Ayyappa temple in Kerala’s Sabarimala will be held on Friday. On this say, the sacred ornaments, called ‘Thiruvabharanam’, which is to be worn by the deity, is brought from the Pandalam Palace where lord Ayyappa was believed to have spent his childhood.
The procession of devotees will reach the temple by evening, and this will be followed by ‘deeparadhana’. A ‘darshan’ of the ‘Makaravilakku’, a lamp that glows on the Ponnambalamedu hill in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta district, and the ‘Makarajyothi’ star that appears after sunset, marks the day of Makar Sankranti in Kerala.
Deeparadhana marks the beginning of the seven-day Makaravilakku festival.
According to reports, up to 75,000 pilgrims would be able to see the ‘Makaravilakku’ on Friday, officials of the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple, have said.
There has been a decline in the number of pilgrims due to a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the state.
Makara Jyothi And Makaravilakku Festival: History And Significance
The Makara jyothi star appears in the sky on Makar Sankranti, and it marks the Sun’s transit from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius) to Makara rashi (Capricorn). January 14 is the first day of the Malayalam month of Makaram.
Sighting of the Makara jyothi marks the culmination of the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage.
In the evening on this day, Lord Ayyappa’s sacred ornaments is brought to Sabarimala shrine from the Pandalam palace, localted around 80 km away, in a procession. The erstwhile Pandalam royal family is the custodian of these ornaments.
Even some who leave Sabarimala after witnessing the Jothi observe fasting till the Makara Villaku and Kuruthi pooja is complete at Sabarimala.
Makara vilakku, meanwhile, is a light that is lit on the Ponnambalamedu plateau across the Sabarimala temple. The light is believed to have celestial origins. As per ritual, the chief priest of Pamba temple at the base of Sabarimala shows the light to devotees three times.
According to reports, Malaya araya tribals performed this ritual in the past. But they lost this right after the Travancore Devaswom Board took over the temple’s administration in the early 1950s.
The Makaravilakku festival lasts for seven days. Many pilgrims usually stay back in Sabarimala until the festival is over and Kuruthi pooja is performed.