Sabarimala: The famed Lord Ayyappa temple here is witnessing unprecedented heavy rush on Wednesday morning with just hours left for the performance of the auspicious Mandala pooja at the hill shrine.
Long queues of pilgrims carrying the sacred bundle of "irunmudikettu" on their heads and chanting "swamiye saranam Ayyappa" mantras could be seen at the Sannidhanam, the temple complex. The sea of devotees was waiting to get a glimpse of the mandala pooja which marks the culmination of the first leg of the two month-long annual pilgrimage at the Lord Ayyappa temple. A ceremonial procession carrying the sacred Thanka Anki (golden attire) of Lord Ayyappa reached the hill shrine here last evening. According to temple management sources, the pooja would be performed after adorning the 'anki' on the idol of Lord Ayyappa, the principal deity. The poojas and rituals would be performed between 10.30 am and 11.30 am, they said. After the Mandala Pooja, the shrine would be closed by 11.00 pm and would be reopened for the Makaravilakku rituals on December 30. The Makaravilakku ritual at the Sabarimala hill shrine would be held on January 15, TDB sources added.