SABARIMALA: Thousands of devotees witnessed the arattu ceremony of Lord Ayyappa, marking the conclusion of the 10-day festival as part of the installation of the new golden flag mast of the temple, in the Pampa, on Friday.The ceremony was held under the leadership of Thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru in the presence of Melsanthi Unnikrishnan Namboothiri at 11.30 am.

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) President Prayar Gopalakrishnan, members Ajay Tharayil and K Raghavan, Devaswom Commissioner C P Ramaraja Prema Prasad, District Collector R Girija, Special Commissioner Manoj, Devaswom Chief Engineer G Muralikrishnan, Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham president Thennala Balakrishna Pillai and vice-president D Vijaykumar were present.

Earlier, the arattu procession carrying the ‘sreebali’ idol of Ayyappa, in a ‘thidambu’ of the Lord on a caparisoned elephant, was taken out from Sannidhanam to Pampa at 9 am after usha pooja and ‘arattubali’. At the Pampa Anjaneya auditorium, a traditional reception was accorded to the ‘arattu’ procession.

After the reception, the melsanthi carried the ‘sreebali’ idol of Lord Ayyappa in a procession to ‘arattu kadavu’ for the ceremony. The thantri, after performing poojas, conducted the ‘arattu’ ceremony. On conclusion of the ceremony, the ‘Sreebali’ idol was taken in a procession by the melsanthi to the ‘mandapam’ in front of Pampa Lord Ganapathi temple for darsan and offerings by devotees.