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Festivals

Thiruvutsavam

Let us see the myth, associated with Sabarimala Festival. A ten day te~le festival starts from Atham day of meenam the "Kodiyettam" and culminates with Arattu (Holy bath of the Lord Ayyappa at the sacred river pampa). It is renowned as 'Thiruvutsava'. This occasion becomes a stimulant to millions i of devotees of Lord Ayyappa. Dhwajapooja 1 is done at Sreekovil (shrine) just before, Kodiyettam to transfer the chaitanya to the flag. I Thus the sanctified flag is hoisted on the golden' flag staff (Dhwaja stambham) by the Thantri at 'Sannidhanam' along with the Melshanthi is done with the accompaniment of Panchavadya amidst chants of Saranam Ayyappa.

Arattu is performed at Pampa in the traditional Kerala temple style. The idol of . Lord Ayyappa on a tusker is accompanied by other elephants and millions of devotees. The sight at pamba is just marvelous.

This is a holy procession with lighted lamps and the road to Pampa on both sides will be covered with offerings. At Pampa, Holy bath is followed by special Poojas witnessed by an unending queue of devotees, chanting simultaneously and in one sound, 'Saranam Ayyappa'. A bath at Pampa associated with Lord's bath is believed to remove all sins. Reaching the temple premises after Arattu the flag is dehoisted. Thiruvutsava ends there.

Mandala Pooja

The major Pooja of the Mandala period is performed on the concluding 41 st day, which usually falls on the 11 th of the Malayalam month Dhanu. A special event on this occasion is the arrival of the procession carrying the Thanka-anki, which is a decorated gold shawl, on the eve of the Mandala- pooja. It is brought in a chariot from the Paarthasaarathi temple in Aranmula. The Thanka-anki, dedicated by the royal family of Travancore, will be adorning the idol of the Lord during the concluding day of the Mandala-pooja. After the Mandala-pooja the temple will be closed till the I st of January when the season of the Makara-samkrama begins.

Makara Samkrama Pooja and Makara Jyothi

The most auspicious Makara-samkrama Pooja is performed on the day when the Malayalam month Dhanu gives way to the next month Makaram (mid-January). The Melshaanthi who receives the Thiruvaabharanam just before the auspicious event, takes the ornaments inside the sanctum sanctorum. The radiant idol of the Lord is now resplendent being decorated with the Thiruvaabharanam. Then follows the Deepaaradhana, the most auspicious worship with camphour flames.

Thus culminates a glorious period of pilgrimage that bestows spiritual reinforcement to millions and solemnizing the occasion a holy pit of camphor is lighted from the heights of Ponnambalmedu, a mountain range about fifteen kilometers away, facing the shrine. Millions of pilgrims immerse themselves in spiritual ecstasy seeing this sacred Jyothi that reminds them of the Eternal Light of the Spiritual Presence within, symbolized by the divine form of Lord Ayyappa, who is the very Source of Time and Space and who illumines the millions of galaxies, the Source behind the formation, maintenance and dissolution of the universes and the evolution of life and its pilgrimage to spiritual Freedom. very year.

Other important festivals celebrated at the temple include Onam and Vishu.