Sabarimala Temple to reopen today for Makaravilakku festival
- Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala shrine shall reopen today for the Makaravilakku festival
- Devotees will be allowed from the morning of December 31
- 5000 devotees will be allowed to visit the shrine every day
Lord Ayyappa’s Sabarimala Shrine, which closed after the Mandala Puja on December 26, shall reopen today at 5 PM but devotees will be allowed from the morning of December 31. The darshan shall continue until the Makaravilakku festival, celebrated during Makara Sankranti annually.
Makaravilakku is one of the most famous festivals that attracts an ocean of devotees worldwide. However, owing to the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus, not more than 5000 people will be allowed per day. During the Makaravilakku festival, devotees gather to sight the Makara Jyothi and the Makaravilakku. The festival also includes the Thiruvabharanam, an age-old ritual of offering gold ornaments to Lord Ayyappa. The jewellery, which is kept in the Pandalam palace premises, is taken out annually for the festival. A procession is carried out to celebrate the tradition of Thiruvabharanam, and once it concludes, the ornaments are taken back to the palace premises.
Devotees flock to see the Makaravilakku, a light that appears thrice from the Ponnambalamedu hill (located about 4 kilometres away from the Sabarimala shrine). They also take the darshan of the Makara Jyothi that appears in the sky.
Upon arrival, the devotees will be asked to produce their RT-PCR COVID-19 negative certificate, taken within 48 hours of the pilgrimage. The temple shall remain open till January 19 for devotees and shall close on the next day. Devotees can get their Virtual Q darshan bookings done from the official site of Travancore Devaswom Board.
Like other places of worship, the Sabarimala shrine remained closed for over six months since March due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. It reopened for devotees in October. Initially, only 1000 pilgrims were allowed to visit the temple on weekdays, and about 2000 were permitted on weekends. Subsequently, the numbers were increased to 2000 and 3000, respectively. But now, as many as 5000 devotees can visit the temple.
The pilgrimage to Sabarimala is one of the most famous and largest religious gatherings in the world. The temple of Lord Ayyappa is situated within the Periyar Tiger Reserve enclosures in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala.