Sabarimala temple, 'Makara Jyothi' | Videograb: Mathrubhumi News
Sabarimala: More than a million Ayyappa devotees on Saturday witnessed ‘Makara Jyothi’ (holy light) in Ponnambalamedu here at around 6.45 pm as part of the auspicious 'Makaravilakku' ritual which marked the culmination of the over two-months-long annual pilgrimage season.
On the day of the annual festival that falls on Makar Sankranti day, it is believed that Lord Ayyappa asserts himself as a holy light in the sky to bless his devotees.
The temple was opened for ‘deeparadhana’ at 6.30 pm.
A sea of devotees, clad in customary black dress and carrying the "irumudi kettu" (the traditional bundle a devotee brings to the shrine) on their heads, were seen patiently waiting in and around the temple complex, forest paths and the base camp chanting the hymns of Lord Ayyappa since the morning.
Due to heavy rush, restrictions were put in place by the authorities for spot booking to trek the hill from the base camp.
The 'arati' was performed after the idol of Lord Ayyappa was donned with the holy jewels "Thiruvabharanam" brought from the Pandalam Palace, where, according to legend, Lord Ayyappa was born and spent his childhood.
The jewels were brought shortly before the 'arati' in a ceremonial procession, which started its journey three days ahead from the palace.
The State government and TDB, the apex temple body which manages the shrine, made elaborate arrangements for crowd management and to ensure the safety of devotees.
State Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan was camping at the hill top since morning to oversee and coordinate various arrangements.
The temple would be closed on January 20, TDB sources said.
With PTI inputs