The Malayalam New Year day was all ceremonies and rituals at Sabarimala.
The entire atmosphere was charged with devotion as the ‘Swami Saranam’ mantra rent the air.
There was pindrop silence when the gifted playback singer P. Jayachandran rendered his popular devotional song ‘Sree Sabareesaa Deenadayalo! Memalavaazhum Sree Manikanta’, after receiving the Harivarasanam Award instituted by the State government from Devaswom Minister V.S. Sivakumar at a function held at the holy hillock in the forenoon.
The singer was almost in tears while singing the devotional number, sending many an Ayyappa devotee at the thickly packed Sree Dharmasastha Auditorium attached to the Valiya Nadappanthal into a trance.
Felicitating the singer, Mr. Sivakumar, who himself is an ardent Ayyappa devotee, said the government decided to honour Mr. Jayachandran for his cultural contributions.
Mr. Jayachandran was presented with the award comprising a purse of Rs.50,000, a plaque, and citation. Raju Abraham, MLA, presided over the function. Subhah Vasu and P.K. Kumaran, both Travancore Devaswom Board members; K.R. Jyothilal, Principal Secretary to Devaswom; K. Babu, Special Commissioner appointed by Kerala High Court; and P. Venugopal, Devaswom Commissioner; also spoke.
Sabarimala witnessed heavy rush on Sunday as hundreds of Ayyappa devotees from different parts of south India undertook the pilgrimage to the forest shrine to worship the deity on the Malayalam New Year day.
The Ayyappa Temple was opened on Saturday afternoon and the rituals began with the Tantri Kandararu Rajeevararu performing the Ashtadravaya Ganapati homom followed by Ushapuja. Laksharchana was also performed at the Ayyappa Temple in the forenoon and another Laksharchana will be performed at the Maha Ganapati Temple at Pampa in the foothills on Monday morning.
Kalabhabhishekom, Padipuja, Pushpabhishekom and Udyasthamanapuja were the other important rituals performed at the Ayyappa Temple on Sunday.