Representational Image l Photo: PTI
Pathanamthitta: Hundreds of devotees took part in the annual ceremonial procession carrying 'Thanka Anki', the sacred golden attire to be adorned on Lord Ayyappa idol, as it set off for the Sabarimala temple from Aranmula here on Friday.
Weighing 453 sovereigns, the Thanka Anki was offered to Lord Ayyappa by the Travancore royal family during the 1970s.
The attire used to be kept at the Aranmula Parthasarathy temple and would be taken to the hill shrine during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.
People chanted 'Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa' aloud when the attire was taken out on a decorated vehicle for the procession.
Besides devotees, several senior officials of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) including its president K Ananthagopan were also present there during the occasion.
After accepting the reception by devotees at various temples en route, the procession would reach Sabarimala on December 26 evening.
It would be accorded a grand reception by the temple authorities at Sabarimala as well.
The sacred attire would be adorned on the idol of the presiding deity prior to the 'arathi', temple sources said.
The auspicious Mandala pooja would be held in Sabarimala on December 27, marking the culmination of the first leg of the annual pilgrimage season.
Following two years of pandemic restrictions, a heavy rush of pilgrims has been seen this season.