The Rites that Mark the Finale (46)

09/01/2012 History of Lord Ayyappa

The Representative of the king of Pandalam, who had accompanied the Thiruvaabharanam procession and stayed back at Pampa for two days, would be arriving at Sabarimala on the third of the month of Makaram. He would be received with ablution of his feet by the Melshaanthi. The Kalabhaabhishekam, libation of Lord’s idol with sandal paste on the fifth day of Makaram, and Guruthi, a symbolic sacrificial ritual on the seventh day of Makaram will be performed as directed by the Representative of the king of Pandalam. The sanctum sanctorum will be closed on that day. The closing ceremony takes place after the Athaazha pooja in the neight.The final closing is a tochingly dramatic event. Singing of the hymn Harivaraasanam starts. As each verse is sung the oil lamps in front of the vigraham of Lord Ayyappa are extinguished one by one. Just before the last verse is finished, the assistance of the Mel-shanthi leave the sanctum sanctorum. As the last verse finishes, the last set of lamps are extinguished by the Mel-shanthi and he leaves the sanctum sanctorum. He locks the doors and after a ritual hands over a pouchful of coins and the key of the temple to the Representative of the king and the Representative will hand over the key back to the Melshaanthi himself authorising him to maintain the temple till the next season of the pilgrimage.

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