The devotional fervour in the town of Sabrimala will go up by several notches as the hilltop Sabrimala Temple will reopen on Tuesday, April 10. The occasion in question is the Malayalam New Year known as Vishu. The 8-day-long celebrations are primarily celebrated in Kerala, Karnataka’s Tulunadu region and their diaspora communities.
The Sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum), where the main deity resides, will be opened by Melsanthi Unnikrishnan Nampoothiri in the presence of thantri (head priest) Mahesh Mohanaru at 5:00 PM on April 10 to mark the beginning of the Vishu Festival celebrations. According to the prevalent practices, no rituals will be executed at the sanctum sanctorum of the Ayyappan Temple in the afternoon.
Reportedly, the portals of the sanctum sanctorum will be opened for Vishukani darshan at 4:00 AM on April 15. The image of Lord Ayyappa will be beautified with an array of flowers such as ‘kanikonna’, which are bright, yellow flowers. The deity will be offered the traditional kani, which includes fruits, including the jackfruit. On the day of darshan, the devotees gathered near the sanctum sanctorum will be given non-currency coins as a holy sacrament of Lord Ayyappa.
During the entire Vishu festival, Lord Ayyappa will be worshipped with Kalabhabhishekam and Sahasrakalasam. In addition, other ritual worships like Udayasthamana pooja, padi pooja and pushpabhishekam will also be carried out for the entire week. Once the Athazha Pooja and Harivarasanam are over, the popular ancient temple will be once again closed on April 18 to mark the end of the festival.
The holy shrine of Lord Ayyappa is a highly sacred temple in Kerala. Devotees are supposed to observe fasting and austerities for 41 days before becoming fully eligible to behold the mighty deity Ayyappa, who is the son of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu’s female form Mohini. In North India, Lord Ayyappa is also known as Harihara.