Hundreds of pilgrims are camping at Pampa, Erumely, Nilackal, Pandalam and various other base camps awaiting the opening of the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala for the annual Makarvilakku festival on Monday.
A majority of the pilgrims who have reached Pampa and other base camps during the past three days were unaware of the closing of the temple for three days after the 41-day Mandalam festival.
The pilgrims were not permitted to the trekking path and the Sannidhanam from December 27, 2013 to facilitate hassle-free cleaning drive and to avoid human pressure at the holy hillock even before the opening of the temple for the Makaravilakku festival.
Pilgrims have already started their trek to Sabarimala through the Karimala route. They will be permitted to enter the Pampa-Sannidhanam path only on Monday afternoon.
The Fire and Rescue Force personnel and workers attached to Travancore Devaswom Board have cleaned the entire temple premises preparatory to the opening of the temple for the Makaravilakku festival on Monday afternoon.
The temple head priest (Melsanthi), P.N.Narayanan Namboodiri, will open the sanctum sanctorum in the presence of the chief priest (Tantri), Kandararu Maheswararu, at 5.30 p.m. on Monday.
The rituals will begin only with the chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevaru, performing Ganapati homam on Tuesday morning.
The sanitation workers of the Sabarimala Sanitation Society have completed its three-day cleaning drive at the Sannidhanam and Pampa on Sunday.
The ceremonial Petta thullal by the Ambalappuzha and Alangad groups will be held at Erumeli on January 11, 2013. Thiruvabharanam, the sacred jewellery of the presiding deity at the Ayyappa temple, will be taken out in a ceremonial procession to Sabarimala from Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple on January 12, 2013 afternoon for the Makaravilakku festival to be celebrated on January 14, 2013.
The sighting of the Makarajyoti, a celestial star, on the eastern horizon of the Sannidhanam, followed by the deeparadhana atop Ponnambalamedu, a distant hill facing Sabarimala, immediately after the deeparadhana will be the highlights of the day.
The auspicious Kalabhabhishekom ritual marking the culmination of the ritualistic Neyyabhishekom offering to the presiding deity during the Makaravilakku festival will be performed prior to the Utchapuja on January 18, 2013.
The Guruti ritual to propitiate the Bhoothagana of Lord Ayyappa will be performed at Malikappuram on January 19, 2013 evening.
The temple will be closed immediately after the customary holy darshan at the shrine exclusively for the royal representative at 7 a.m. on January 20, 2013 marking the culmination of the annual Makaravilakku festival. The royal representative will start his return journey to Pandalam, escorting the ceremonial procession carrying the Thiruvabharanam.