Sabarimala witnesses heavy rush

Devotees partake of Uthrada sadya at the Ayyappa temple

The holy hillock of Sabarimala witnessed heavy rush on the first day of the Onam festival on Tuesday. A large number of devotes from various parts of south India turned up at the temple to offer prayers.

The rituals began with Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu performing the auspicious Ashtadravya Ganapati homom in the morning. A large number of devotees partook of the Uthrada sadya, a sumptuous feast served on Uthradom day, at the Sannidhanam. The annual feast was offered by head priest (Melsanthi) V.N. Vasudevan Namboodiri. The Tantri inaugurated the feast by lighting a ceremonial lamp and performing arati to the Ayyappa idol kept at the hall. The Tantri served meals on a plantain leaf placed in front of the ceremonial lamp.

Sabarimala Special Commissioner M. Manoj and the newly appointed Devaswom executive officer Rajendraprasad were among those who attended the function.

The feast in Palakkadan style was prepared by Karuthedom Mohanan Namboodiri of Mannarkad. The Melsanthi presented Onakkodi (new clothes) to the Devaswom staff and his assistants on the occasion.

Onasadya today

The Onasadya would be held immediately after the Utchapuja on Wednesday.

Kalabhabhishekom, Ashtabhishekom, Padipuja, Pushpabhishekom and Udayasthamanapuja were the special rituals performed at the Ayyappa shrine on Tuesday.

The Devaswom staff will offer a feast to devotees and staff on duty at the Sannidhanam on Friday.

The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja in the evening. The temple will be opened again on September 16 afternoon for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Kanni that begins on September 17.

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