INDIA: The Guruthi ritual, performed for propitiating the cohorts of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Malikappuram temple will be performed on Thursday night marking the end of this pilgrimage season. The pilgrimage season witnessed an unprecedented rush of devotees to Sabarimala.
According to the official statement from the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), devotees will be permitted entry to the hill temple only till 10 p.m. on Thursday and after the Guruthi ritual that will be led by a member from the Kunnakkattu family from Ranni, no persons will be allowed to enter the Malikappuram. The Kunnakkattu family from Ranni has been conducting the puja for the past three generations.
Though the temple will be opened at 5 a.m. the next day, darshan will be allowed only for the representative of the Pandalam royal family.
As per the statement, this will be followed by the customary key handing-over ceremony in front of the 18 holy steps and a return journey of the sacred jewellery brought from the Pandalam palace.
Meanwhile, the pilgrim footfall to Sabarimala recorded a considerable decline after the Makaravilakku festival and when compared to the previous weeks, the majority of those visiting the temple now is from Kerala itself. The number of bookings for darshan on Tuesday stood at just 66,736.
As per estimates, over 45 lakh pilgrims visited the temple during the ongoing season that began in November last year.
According to the Travancore Devaswam board, 310.40 crore was the revenue from this season in Sabarimala till 12 January 2023.
The online portals of Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala were opened on November 17 for devotees for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festivals, marking the beginning of the two-month-long pilgrimage season.
Over 2.5 lakh pilgrims visited Lord Ayappa Temple at Sabarimala in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district in the first six days of the pilgrimage season. 2,61,874 pilgrims visited Sabarimala in the first six days of this pilgrim season.