Thousands witness Makarajyothi

Sannidhanam Jan 15: Thousands of devotees at Sabarimala witnessed the Makarajyothi that flickered three times at Ponnambalamedu on Sunday.
The pilgrims have been waiting for the moment for hours, and they occupied every available inch—from pavements to rooftops.
Chants hailing the Lord reverberated the 18 hills surrounding the shrine as the jyothi first became visible at 6.45pm. The bells' chime from the Sanctum Santorum—marking the beginning of 'deepaaradhana'—merged with the chants, now touching a feverish pitch. Above the sea of pilgrims, folded palms pointed towards the heaven.
, Lord Ayyappa's birth star, 'uthram nakshatram' which became visible by 6.31pm, shone bright on the eastern horizon.
Soon after, the barricades to the temple were opened, and the pilgrims, now almost in a frenzy, clambered up the 18 steps to the flower-decked temple of the Dharmasastha.
Earlier, the devaswom board members had welcomed the Thiruvabharana procession that came from Pandalam around 5.10pm. At 6.35pm, the procession, accompanied by pious 'sharanam' chants, went up the steps to the temple.
Devotees, mostly from the southern states, had camped overnight braving the cold at Sabarimala, 914 metres above the sea level. The police had a tough time controlling the devotees, and at times, were seen using mild force to avoid untoward incidents. The 4km trekking path from Pamba, too, witnessed heavy rush.
It has been believed that witnessing the Makarajyothi would bring good luck. Makarasankrama puja was performed at the temple at 1.47 pm.
Earlier, singer K S Chitra was awarded the Harivarasanam award by devaswom minister Kadakampilly Surendran.
Actor Jayaram and former judge of the Supreme Court Justice Arijit Pasayat were among those who witnessed the jyothi from Sannidanam.