Today 17th November 2011, At 3 a.m. sharp on the first day of Malayalam month Vrishickam, temple melshanthi N. Balamurali opened the doors for the two-month-long pilgrimage season amid shouts of ‘Swamiye Sharanamayappa’.
The Sabarimala temple has been crowded since Wednesday evening and pilgrims mostly from neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh stood in five queues – each extending to over a kilometre – waiting for the temple to open.
Heavy rush was witnessed at the Kottayam railway station since Wednesday evening when pilgrims arrived in large numbers from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. With the administration still organising steps for a smooth pilgrimage, the scene was chaotic.
The temple will open at 3 a.m. till 1 p.m. and then open again at 3 p.m. till 11.45 p.m.
The temple rituals began with the Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, performing the auspicious Ganapati homom followed by Ashtabhishekom.
Neyyabhishekom, ritualistic pouring of ghee offered by devotees over the Ayyappa, idol began at 3.20 am.
Both the tantri and melsanthi distributed `vibhuthi’ (sacred ash), theerthom (holy water) and sandal paste to the devotees present at the sopanam after the Ashtabhishekom performed to the presiding deity.