The Mandala Kaalam, the Period of Mandala, and the Temple Festival (39)

06/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

Authored by Sri. Srikanth and C.V. Manoj

The period of austerities for 41 days, beginning from the 1st of the Malayalam month Vrischikam (mid-November), is known as the Mandala-kaalam of the Sabarimala pilgrimage. The period extends up to the 11th of the Malayalam month Dhanu (end of December). The ten-day temple festival also takes place during this period. It begins with the hoisting of the temple flag on the day of the star, Uthram which is considered as the day of the Avathaara, the divine descent through birth with human embodiment, of Lord Ayyappa. On the ninth day the Uthsava-moorthi (the idol that is taken out during festival occasions, etc.) of the Lord will be carried to Saramkuthiyaal. From there, on the tenth day, it will be carried in a procession to Pampa for the Aaraattu, the holy river bath of the idol. The Aaraattu is usually conducted at noon and after that an elaborate feast will be arranged on the banks of Pampa. Then the idol will be taken back to the temple in a procession and after the Deeparaadhana, the flag will be lowered marking the finale of the festival.

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