41-day Mandalam season concludes at Sabarimala

PATHANAMTHITTA Dec 29:  The Mandala puja, marking the culmination of 41-day annual Mandalam pilgrimage season, was performed at the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
A large number of pilgrims from different parts of the country thronged the Sabarimala Sannidhanam to witness the ritual and to have the darshan of the presiding deity on this special occasion.
The Ayyappa temple was opened at 3 a.m. on Tuesday and the rituals began with the chief priest (Tantri), Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu, performing the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homam followed by the Ashtabhishekom. Neyyabhishekom came to a close by 9.30 am.
The golden urns carrying the Brahmakalasom and the Kalabhom (sandal paste) were taken out in a ceremonial procession to the sanctum sanctorum for the abhishekom prior to the Mandala puja.
The Ayyappa Temple was closed after the Athazha puja on Tuesday evening. The temple will remain closed for the next three days to reopen for the Makaravilakku festival at 5 pm on Dec 30.