PATHANAMTHITTA: Hordes of Ayyappa devotees are visiting Pandalam town to have a glimpse of ‘Thiruvabharanam,’ the sacred jewellery, kept at the Pandalam Palace. The pilgrims’ number has gone up considerably in the last lap of the Makaravilakku festival.
Many Sabarimala pilgrims, especially those from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, visit Pandalam Palace too as part of their annual pilgrimage.
‘Thiruvabharanam’ are sacred jewel-studded ornaments in gold, believed to have been offered to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple by the king of the erstwhile Pandalam royal kingdom, who was also the foster father of Ayyappa alias Manikanta, centuries ago.
The palace managing committee displays the ‘Thiruvabharanam’ at the palace strong room during the pilgrimage season for the devotees to see the jewellery.
The palace authorities will hand over the jewellery to the Travancore Devaswom Board on January 12. It will be taken in a ceremonial procession to Sabarimala for the Makaravilakku festival.
Raja Raja Varma from Tripunithura is the royal designate escorting the procession carrying the ‘Thiruvabharanam’ to Sabarimala this year. The ‘Thiruvabharanam’ will be kept at the Valiyakoickal Sastha Temple till 12 noon on Monday. It will be carried in three wooden boxes to Sabarimala.
The procession will set off from Pandalam once the eldest member of the palace hands over the ceremonial sword to the royal designate escorting the procession at 1 p.m.
The three wooden boxes will be carried to Sabarimala by an 18-member team of devotees led by the Guruswami, Kulathinal Gangadharan Pillai.
The procession will reach Sabarimala Sannidhanam by 6.30 pm on January 14. The Tantri, assisted by Melsanthi, will put the jewellery on the Ayyappa idol prior to the ‘deeparadhana.’
The ‘Thiruvabharanam’ will be taken back to Pandalam Palace in a procession on January 22.