Temple Festival (Uthsavam) (42)

06/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

The Temple festival was used to be conducted in December every year. However, because of the heavy rush of pilgrims during this season, the temple festival was shifted to the Vishu season in April from the year 2006. The beginning of the festival is symbolised by  “Kodiyettam” or hoisting of the flag on the temple flag post by the Mel Thantri during morning hours of the day of the star Atham marks the beginning of the festival. The festival lasts for ten days.

During the dys of the festival special pooja-s are offered to Lord Ayyappa and rituals are conducted to propitiate the accompanying personalized spiritual and material powers of the Lord, who are known as Lord”s bhoothaganas,. These pooja-s and rituals are called Ultsava Bali. On the ninth day, Lord”s Sheeveli Vigrahamm, the smaller replica of Sri Ayyappa Vigraham (icon), which is taken out during festivals, along with the bhootaganas, will be ceremoniously conducted, accompanied by a huge crowd, up to the traditional sacred banyan tree known as Skaram Kuthi Aaal. Symblically this signifies the victory of the spiritual values over the evil and negative propensities of the human mind. This is known as the Palli Vetta, the hunting and vanquishing of the evil by the Divine.

As the Lord Returns to the temple, narrative songs, known as Neyyattu Vili in praise of the Lord”s exploits are sung to the  paeans of praise are sung, at the bottom of the Pathinettam Padi, the eighteen sacred steps. nayattu vili will be performed throughout the festival days. This is a heart-felt offering by the human mind symbolic of the expectation of the devout that the Lord would have a relaxation, pallikkuruppu in the special chamber manimandapam, listening this tribute.. The source material for Nayattu Vili consists of 576 seelus or chapters and covers all aspects of the mystic tradition of Lord Ayyappa.

Aaraatu, the symbolic sacred bath of the Lord”s sheeveli Vigraham takes place on the tenth day. As the first step, the Lord reposing in manimandapam is gently awakened at the brahmamuhurtham (around 3 am) through prayers and chanting and is ceremoniously taken to the shreekovil or sanctum sanctorum. . After the early morning pooja (usha pooja), the sheeveli Vigraham is taken out in royal procession from the Sannidhanam to Pampa.  At the At the divine bathing ghat, aarattu kadavu at Pampa, and the sheeveli Vigraham is given a bath by immersion in the holy river Pampa by the Thantri and his assistants.. On the way to Pampa and on the return journey, the procession is accorded welcome with devotional fervour at many points  including the Ganapati temple at Pampa where special poojas are conducted This sacred bath Aaratu, signifies the end of the temple festival, the utsavam.

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