Traditional ritual:The Tantri, Kandararu Maheshwararu Mohanararu, performing the auspicious Padipuja in front of the holy 18-steps at Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Wednesday. –PHOTO: LEJU KAMAL

The five-day rituals in the Malayalam month of Karkidakom came to a close with the Athazhapuja at the Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala on Wednesday evening.

The Tantri, Kandararu Maheshwararu Mohanararu, assisted by the Melsanthi, S.E. Sankaran Namboodiri, performed the Sahasrakalasabhishekom and Kalabhabhishekom prior to the Utchapuja.

A large number of devotees from different parts of South India worshipped the auspicious Padipuja performed by the Tantri before the gold-covered holy 18-steps (Pathinettampady) after the deeparadhana in the evening.

Pusphpabhishekom, Ashtabhishekom, and Udayasthamanapuja, were the other important rituals performed at the Ayyappa shrine on Wednesday.

The Melsanthi, accompanied by other priests, closed the sanctum sanctorum, singing the sacred lullaby, ‘Harivarasanam, viswa-mohanom…’, in the presence of the Tantri and Devaswom officials, marking the culmination of the five-day long rituals in the evening.

The annual Niraputhari celebrations at Sabarimala will be held on August 8. The temple will be opened on August 7 afternoon for the Niraputhari fete.

The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, will perform the Niraputhari-pooja in the auspicious muhurthom between 5.45 a.m. and 6.15 a.m. on August 8. The temple will be closed after the Athazhapooja in the evening.