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Sabarimala Mandala puja on December 26

Staff Reporter

Temple to be reopened for Makaravilakku on December 30



PREPARATION FOR NEYYABHISHEKOM: Pilgrims unbundling their irumudi (sacred bundle) at the Lower Thirumuttom of the Sabarimala Sannidhanam to drain out the ghee in coconuts into a vessel before being offered as neyyabhishekom to the presiding deity.

PATHANAMTHITTA: The auspicious Mandala puja at Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala will be held between 11.30 a.m. and 12 noon on December 26, according to Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) sources.

They told The Hindu on Saturday that the Mandala puja, marking the culmination of the 41-day Mandalam festival, would be held before utcha puja. The Ayyappa shrine will be closed after athazha puja later in the evening.

The reopening of the temple for the Makaravilakku festival (after its closure on December 26) has been advanced by two days. TDB president G. Raman Nair said the temple would be opened for the Makaravilaku festival on December 30 afternoon instead of January 1. The temple will be opened for daily puja at 3 a.m.

The TDB has postponed the 10-day annual festival of temple being held during the Mandalam season to April from this year. The TDB chief said the annual festival would begin with the flag-hoisting ceremony on April 2, 2006. It will conclude with an arat in the Pampa on April 11.

Two arrested

Meanwhile, the Sannidhanam police arrested two persons for allegedly black-marketing `aravana payasom' at the Sannidhanam on Saturday. The two have been identified as Devaswom workers on daily wages, Gopalakrishnan and Thankappan, both from Sasthamkottah, according to the police. Both will be produced before the First Class Judicial Magistrate at Ranni on Sunday, the police said.

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