Mandala Pooja in Sabarimala

25/10/2011 Festivals

Mandala Pooja celebrations continues for a period of 41 days beginning from first day of the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam (November-December) and culminating on eleventh day of Dhanu (December-January). During this period devotees make a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala. Mandala Pooja signifies 41 days of austerities. Main Mandala pooja is conducted on the 41st day after the 1st of Vrishchikam. The Mandala Pooja at Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple marks the culmination of the 41-day Mandala Kalam or Mandala Pooja season. The Temple remains continuously open for 41 days only during this period. After the Mandala Pooja, the temple closes for a brief period of two to three days and reopens for Makaravilakku festival.The Sabarimala Mandala Kalam begins in mid-November – on the first day of Malayalam month Vrishchikam. The 41 days conclude during the last week of December – in the Malayalam month Makaram. The pooja on last day is known as Mandala Pooja and it is held in the evening. The Pooja is held by adorning the Thanka Anki (golden attire) which is brought in a procession from the famous Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple. The shrine then closes for three days and reopens for the famous Makaravilakku festival which is marked by numerous processions including the famous Petta Thullal. Lord Ayyappa gives continues darshan to his devotees for 41-days at Sabarimala Temple during the Mandala Kalam. The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple remains closed for the major part of a year. So Mandala Kalam is the period chosen by most pilgrims to visit the shrine. The 41-day pilgrim season, also known as Mandala Pooja, attracts millions of devotees to this hill shrine dedicated to Sastha. The pilgrim season begins on the first day of Malayalam month Vrischikam (Mid November) and continues for 41 days. The Mandala Kalam ends during the fag end of December, in the Malayalam month Dhanu. The temple then opens and conducts poojas only on the first of every Malayalam month and during festivals like Vishu and Onam and also the temple idol installation day etc. Before going to have a darshan all devotees wear Mudra Mala (Rudraksha or Tulsi mala) and enter into a period of Vratham (austerities) for 41-days.There is no restriction of religion and all people can enter the temple. But women between the age of 10 and 50 are not allowed to climb the Sabarimala hill and pray at the temple

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