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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Rhythmic offering to Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala

Sabarimala: There was music in the air and devotion in every beat. The hills reverberated to the beats of the drums as Cherusseri Kuttan Marar and his team, famous for leading the 'Thrissur Pooram.'
This is the first time that the Thiruvambadi ensemble performed 'Ilanjithara Melam' in Sabarimala. Pariyarath Gopalakrishnan Nair on 'chenda,' Mani Nair on 'ilathalam' and Kumbhathu Anilkumar on 'kurunguzhal' and Thrissur Suni on 'kombu' led the 'Pandimelam.'
Thousands of enraptured devotees started swaying to the rhythmic progression which lasted three hours.
The performance was organised by the excise department as an offering to the deity. The symphony started at 4 in the evening.

Thousands worship Lord Ayyappa on Mandala pooja day

Sabarimala: Thousands of Ayyappa devotees Saturday offered worship at the famous hill shrine here during the 'mandala pooja', which marked the conclusion of the first phase of the two-month-long pilgrimage season.
The 'Sannidhanam' atop the holly hillock reverberated with the chant of "Swami saranam" as the pooja was performed by priests in the afternoon after the idol of Lord Ayyappa was adorned with the glittering golden attire 'Thanka Anki.'
The temple witnessed a huge crowd of devotees from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andha Pradesh and Kerala.
The idol was adorned with 'Thanga Anki' (golden attire) for the Mandala pooja and Deepaaradhana (Aarthi) in the evening.
The ceremonial procession carrying the golden attire reached Sannidhanam yesterday from Sree Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula.
The temple recorded the highest ever revenue collection this pilgrimage season with the total earnings touching Rs 141.64 crore, an increase of Rs 14 crore during the corresponding period last year, officials of Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the shrine, said.
Hundi collection touched Rs 51.17 crore against last year's Rs 47.29 crore, while revenue from the sale of 'Aravana prasadam' touched Rs 54.31 crore from Rs 50.38 crore and 'appam' Rs 10.32 crore from Rs 9.77 crore last year.
After being closed tonight, the shrine will be reopened on December 30 for the 'Makaravilakku' which falls on January 14.

Devasom board must fulfil responsibilities

The shortage of aravana continues to be severe in Sabarimala. Aravana is a blessing of the god. If devotees do not get this blessing when they leave after a glimpse of Ayyappa, they will be disappointed. Aravana of Sabarimala, chukku kashayam of Mookambika, palpayasam of Ambalappuzha, unniappam for Kottarakkara Ganapathi, etc, are special offerings.

Each god is believed to have a different personality. Sabarimala Ayyappan is believed to be an eternal bachelor. That is why 41 days of abstinence is prescribed before the holy sight. The food of devotees is also special. Papad and onion are excluded to keep their food pure and to prevent their minds from vacillating. This is also the speciality of the offering: It must inspire maximum belief in god. Aravana fully realises that belief.

The Sabarimala aravana is a special mixture. The mix is prepared by adding 8 kilos of jaggery, 200 grams of ghee, rock sugar, dried ginger powder and cardamom to 1 kilo of rice. From ancient days, aravana has been made in this manner. Even the rice in aravana is not fully cooked to prevent the loss of its purity. All the necessary ingredients, like jaggery, rice and dried ginger powder, are tested in a laboratory to ensure quality before they are used in production.

Once the aravana is made, it becomes the offering to god. It is not right to test the offering in a laboratory because it is an insult to god. If devotees believe that the food safety department made the move to mislead the court, they cannot be blamed. Sabarimala is the only temple where external forces interfere so much. Nowhere else it is possible. It has become a place where anyone can interfere. This is happening because the devaswom board is not fulfilling its responsibilities well.

This raises the question whether the eagerness shown to test the aravana is really needed in arranging other basic facilities. This eagerness is not seen in arranging transport and basic facilities. Devotees should come for the holy sight by purifying their bodies and minds and after making offerings to their ancestors at Pamba.
Are the authorities keeping an eye open to prevent the pollution of Pamba? No. But, why there is so much eagerness that is not shown elsewhere in the case of aravana? The devaswom board should be able to loudly declare that they can give devotees quality offerings made to god, and, likewise, arrange other basic facilities. Only then can devotees loudly oppose the intervention of external forces in Sabarimala.

It should be taken seriously that restriction is needed in distributing aravana as Mandala Pooja is nearing. When the temple opens for Makaravilakku, the rush is likely to increase further. Let us hope that this problem will be fully solved by then. The devaswom board should ensure that the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala never finds a place in news for the shortage and the restriction of aravana.

The devotees are willing to follow the restrictions imposed on aravana distribution. The doctrine of Sabarimala is to consider a devotee as Ayyappa, or god. So, to ensure that everyone gets the offering, devotees will follow these restrictions. But, this obedience of devotees should not be seen by authorities as an approval of their inefficiency.

(The writer is the state president of Yogakshema Sabha)

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Mandala Pooja at Sabarimala 2014

Event date: 27-12-2014

Venue: Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala
Location: Sabari Hills in the Western Ghats
District: Pathanamthitta

Mandala Pooja is the last day of 41 days long austerity observed by devotees of Lord Ayyappa. The fasting begins 41 days before Mandala Puja i.e. on the first day of Vrishchikam Masamaccording to Malayalam Calendar. 

Mandala Puja and Makar Vilakku are the two most famous events at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple when the temple is kept open for devotees for most of the days. 

Welcome to one of the most famous pilgrim centres in India. The Sabarimala temple is located in the Sabari Hills, towards the east of Pathanamthitta District. The divine incantation amid the lush forests and grasslands and the thousands of people that visit this temple, irrespective of caste and creed, make it a very unique pilgrim destination. Lord Ayyappa is the presiding deity here.

The annual pilgrim season to Sabarimala begins with the Mandalakala season, which commences usually in the months of November-December followed by the Makaravilakkuseason during December-January. The temple at Sabarimala can be accessed via many traditional routes. Pamba is the main halting point on the way to Sabarimala. As per tradition a dip in the sacred river Pamba cleanses the pilgrims off sins and after that they proceed to thesannidhanam or the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyappa. A truly riveting spiritual experience in the lap of pristine nature, Sabarimala has become a major destination of the faithful in India.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A post office which delivers letter to God

Sabarimala (Kerala): It is a unique post office, and one of its main tasks is to deliver letters to God.

Located near the famed Hindu temple at the Sabarimala hills, the post office may perhaps be the only one in the country which doesn't work round the year. 

It comes alive when the peak pilgrimage season of the Ayyappa shrine begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November, and the period ends towards the middle of January. 

The post office is also open for 10 days during the Vishu season. 

Functioning six days a week from 8 in the morning to 8 at night, the six employees, led by 23-year-old Sai G Prakash, have a lot to do. 

Prakash is happy to be here, and says he was a devotee of Lord Ayyappa. 

"Our post office mostly gets invitation cards for weddings and shop openings addressed to Lord Ayyappa, obviously to seek divine blessings," Prakash said. 

Most such mail come from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, he said. 

But the three letter boxes kept in the temple complex get more than post cards and envelopes. 

Every morning, the staff find scores of identity cards and wallets too in them. 

"We make it a point to mail these cards to the individuals concerned," Prakash said. 

The employees often spend their own money to do this. 

"Since this season began, I have posted close to 20 PAN cards to the income tax office,"  Prakash added.

Police say all this is the work of pickpockets who operate in the temple town -- crowded during the pilgrimage season.  The criminals pocket the money from the wallets and dump the cards -- and wallets -- in the post boxes. 

Situated in the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at 914 metres above sea level, the Sabarimala temple is four kilometres uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district, around 100 km from Thiruvananthapuram. 

The temple is accessible only on foot from Pamba. 

During the last pilgrimage season, more than 4.5 million devotees visited the shrine. 

This season the authorities expect a 10 percent increase. 

A feature of the post office is the special pictorial cancellation stamp of the 18 steps that led to the Lord Ayyappa shrine. 

"Some devotees come and buy covers or cards and write their own address and post them here. This is their souvenir," said Prakash. 

The post office helps pilgrims to post 'appom' and 'aravana' (the temple prasad). It also sells mobile recharge coupons. 

Of the six employees, three walk down the hill daily carrying the outgoing mail on their heads. When they walk up, they carry bags of mail -- mostly addressed to Lord Ayyappa. 

"Overall we enjoy what we do here. We are very happy we got this posting," said Prakash.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to Build irumudi? இருமுடி கட்டுவது எப்படி?

இருமுடிப் பிரியனே சரணம் ஐயப்பா' - இது மாலை அணிந்து விரதம் இருந்து ஐயப்பனை தரிசிக்க புறப்படும் ஒவ்வொரு ஐயப்ப பக்தரின் இதயத்தில் இருந்தும் எழும் உணர்ச்சி மிகுந்த கோஷம்! நாற்பத்தொரு நாள் (ஒரு மண்டலம்) விரதம் கடைபிடித்து சபரிமலை யாத்திரை புறப்படும் பக்தர்கள் இருமுடி கட்டி புறப்படுவார்கள்.

ஐயப்பன் வழிபாட்டில் இருமுடி மிகவும் புனிதமானது. தனது உடலையும், உள்ளத்தையும் தூய்மையாக்கி மனம் உருகி ஐயப்பனை வேண்டும் பக்தர்கள் அய்யனின் திருமேனி அபிசேகத்துக்கு நெய்யயும், பூஜை பொருட்களையும் கட்டி சுமந்து செல்வது தான் இருமுடி. இருமுடியை கோவிலில் வைத்தும் கட்டலாம். வீடுகளில் வைத்தும் கட்டலாம்.

வீடுகளில் வைத்து கட்டும் போது சபரிவாசனே அங்கு வாசம் செய்வான். அவன் அருள் ஒளி வீசும். இருமுடி கட்டும் நாளில் வீட்டை சுத்தப்படுத்தி ஐயப்பன் படத்தை மலர்களால் அலங்காரம் செய்து படத்தின் முன்பு நெய்விளக்கேற்றி வைக்க வேண்டும். இருமுடி கட்டுவதற்காக வரும் குருசாமியை வாசலில் பாதபூஜை செய்து வீட்டுக்குள் அழைத்து வர வேண்டும்.

குருசாமி வந்ததும் பூஜைகளை தொடங்குவார். அப்போது அய்யப் பக்தர்கள் பஜனை பாடல்களை பாடுவார்கள். இருமுடிகட்டும் பக்தர் குருசாமியின் அருகில் ஐயப்பன் படத்துக்கு முன்பு அமர்ந்து இருக்க வேண்டும். தேங்காயில் நெய்நிறைக்க தொடங்கும் போது நமது பிரார்த்தனைகளோடு சாமியே சரணம் என்றபடி தேங்காயில் நெய்யை நிறைக்க வேண்டும்.

நெய் நிறைந்ததும் அதை மூடி சந்தனம், குங்குமம் பூசி ஒரு சிறிய பையில் வைப்பார்கள். அதற்குள் காணிக்கை பணமும், அன்னதானத்துக்கு சிறிதளவு அரிசியும் வைக்கப்பட்டு இருக்கும். வீட்டில் யாராவது நெய் நிறைக்க விரும்பினால் அவர்களும் நெய் நிறைத்து கொள்ளலாம். மற்றொரு சிறு பையில் பூஜை பொருட்கள் வைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும்.

அதில் மஞ்சள் பொடி, மஞ்சள், பன்னீர், தேன், சந்தன வில்லைகள், குங்குமம், விபூதி, ஊது பத்தி, சாம்பிராணி, கற்பூரம், பேரீச்சம்பழம், உலர்ந்த திராட்சை, முந்திரி , கல்கண்டு, அச்சு வெல்லம், அவல், பொரி, கடலை, மிளகு, கல் உப்பு, எலுமிச்சம் பழம், வெற்றிலை பாக்கு, பாசிபருப்பு, வளையல், கண்ணாடி, சீப்பு, ரவிக்கை துணி ஆகியவை இடம் பெற்றிருக்கும்.

முன் முடியில் (இருமுடியில் முன்பக்கம் இருக்கும் கட்டு) நெய் தேங்காய் மற்றும் பூஜை பொருட்கள் வைத்து கட்டப்படும். பின் முடிக்குள் சபரிமலை தரிசனம் முடிந்து திரும்பும் போது பதினெட்டாம் படி அருகில் உடைக்கவும், வீட்டின் முன்பு உடைக்கவும் இரண்டு தேங்காய்களும் மற்றும் பக்தருக்கு தேவையான பொருட்களும் வைத்து கட்டப்பட்டிருக்கும்.

வசதி வாய்ப்புகள் இல்லாத காலத்தில் பின்முடியில் சமையலுக்கு தேவையான அரிசி மற்றும் வழியில் சாப்பிடுவதற்கு தேவையான தின்பண்டங்களையும் சுமந்து சென்றிருக்கிறார்கள். இருமுடி கட்டி முடித்ததும் வீட்டில் நம்மால் முடிந்த அளவு அன்னதானம் வழங்கலாம். இருமுடி கட்டை குருசாமி தூக்கி நமது தலையில் வைக்கும் போது அவரது பாதங்களை தொட்டு வணங்க வேண்டும்.

தலையில் இருமுடியை சுமந்ததும் வீட்டு வாசலில் தேங்காய் உடைத்து விட்டு திரும்பி பார்க்காமல் தலையில் இருமுடி கட்டும், மனதில் ஐயப்பன் நினைவுமாக புனித யாத்திரையை தொடங்க வேண்டும். நகர வாழ்க்கையில் இல்லங்களில் பூஜை செய்து இருமுடி கட்டுவது சிரமமாக தெரியலாம். ஆனால் இன்றும் கிராமங்களில் பெரும் பாலானவர்கள் வீடுகளில் இருந்து தான் இருமுடி கட்டி புறப்படுகிறார்கள்.

இதனால் ஆண்டு தோறும் வீடுகளில் சகல ஜஸ்வரியமும் அதிகரித்து ஆண்டவனின் அருளும் நிறைகிறது. கோவில்களில் வைத்தும் இருமுடி கட்டி புறப்படலாம். சென்னையில் மகாலிங்கபுரம், ராஜா அண்ணாமலைபுரம், அண்ணாநகர், மடிப்பாக்கம் ஐயப்பன் கோவில்களில் இருமுடிகட்டி விடுகிறார்கள். நாம் பூஜை பொருளுக்கு உரிய கட்டணத்தை செலுத்தினால் எல்லா பொருட்களும் கோவிலிலேயே தந்து விடுகிறார்கள்.

அங்கேயே குருசாமிகள் இருக்கிறார்கள். அவர்களே இருமுடி கட்டி விடுவார்கள். சுமப்பது நம்பாடு. காப்பது அவன்பாடு... பள்ளிக்கட்டு சபரிமலைக்கு... யாரைக் காண.. சுவாமியை காண... என்ற சரண கோஷத்தோடு மலை ஏறுவோம்! வாழ்வில் வளம் பெறுவோம்!

Irumudi piriyane Saranam Ayyappa'- which is fast wearing evening Ayyappa Ayyappa devotees visiting every departure arising from the heart of downtown and passionate! Narpattoru day (a zone) of departure Sabarimala pilgrimage for devotees observe fasting irumuti leaving the building.

Ayyappa irumuti most sacred worship. His body and purifying the mind and the mind must fuse Ayyappa devotees to apicekat Ayaan's body weave, Stef's irumuti carrying building materials. Irumutiyai build it in the temple. You can put it in homes.

Caparivacane will reside there during the construction of the houses. His grace and light winds. Irumuti building a house on the day before the film neyvilakkerri cleaned and dressed with flowers Ayyappa image will be placed. To build a house on the Gurusami irumuti patapujai must bring in the gate.

Gurusami begin the prayers coming. Ayyap devotees singing the bhajan. Gurusami irumutikattum near Ayyappa devotee should be sitting in front of the film. Since our prayers when starting neyniraikka coconut coconut ghee should fill the Saint stanza.

Sandalwood oil filled and sealed it, and put a small bag tinged with vermilion. Offering them money to be placed in Annadhana little rice. They want someone to fill the house with ghee ghee can be filled. Another ritual objects are kept in a small bag.

The yellow powder, yellow, rose water, honey, sandalwood lenses, vermilion, Vibhuti, incense sticks, frankincense, camphor, dates, raisins, cashews, kalkantu, print jaggery, puffed rice, puffed rice, nuts, pepper, rock salt, lemon, betel, areca, Moong dal, bangles, mirror, comb, is placed at the bodice fabric.

Before the end of (irumuti in front of the building) built with ghee, coconut and ritual objects. Sabarimala mutikkul vision over the course of the eighteenth step closer to returning to the break in front of the house is built with the items needed to break the two coconuts and devotee.

Free period required for cooking rice in pinmuti facilities and have been carrying victuals to eat along the way. At home we can provide the best possible finished irumuti beckoning. Keep our head when dressing up Gurusami irumuti his feet to worship.

Irumutiyai bore head out the door and never look back, breaking the coconut head irumuti building, the mind will begin pilgrimage in honor of Ayyappa. Irumuti to offer urban living in households may be difficult to build. But still a large number of houses in the villages and go from the building's irumuti.

The annual increase in the homes of all of God's grace niraikiratu jasvariyamum. Irumuti leave it in the temple building. Makalinkapuram in Chennai, King Annamalaipuram, Anna Nagar, Madipakkam irumutikatti Ayyappa temple also. Pay rates for the veneration of the subject we are able to meet with all the products in the temple.

There are Gurusami. They tied irumuti. Nampatu shoulder. ... It does not support the view that the defense avanpatu ... Pallikettu Sabarimala Lord .. ... view of the mountain eruvom Sarana slogan! We will get rich in life!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sabarimala season to get five million pilgrims

Nearly five million pilgrims
 are expected to visit the revered Ayyappa temple here when it opens Monday for a two-month pilgrimage season, officials said.Located on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats 914 metres above sea level, the Sabarimala temple is four kilometres uphill from Pamba river in Pathanamthitta district, around 100 km from Thiruvananthapuram.
VS Jayakumar, the executive officer overseeing the temple affairs, told IANS that more than 4.5 million pilgrims visited the temple during the last pilgrimage season.
"This time we expect a 10 percent increase in the numbers," he said, adding that temple authorities were providing better facilities vis-a-vis healthcare and other amenities.
Although the temple is open on the first few days every month of the Malayalam calendar, the peak pilgrimage season begins on the first day of the Malayalam month in November and ends on the first day of the Malayalam month in January.
The more serious pilgrims undertake an intense 41-day penance during which they avoid non-vegetarian food, wear black clothes and avoid sandals before the pilgrimage.
A huge chunk of the pilgrims come from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, said Jyotish K Nair, a pilgrim who has climbed the hallowed 18 steps that leads to the sanctum santorum more than 30 times.
With the passing of time, the once arduous trek to the temple top after a dip in the Pamba river has now become more pilgrim friendly.
Earlier the track to the temple was tough and passed through forests. "Today, you have oxygen parlours on the way to the hill top. Moreover, now there are cemented steps," said another devotee, P Jayachandran.
Some pilgrims, however, still use the forested track.
Devotees can now book the time of their prayer on the net. This season, more than half a million have done that.

Drunken ‘Swamis’ get a different punishment at Sannidhanam

Sannidhanam: Police at Sannidhanam have resorted to a different kind of punishment to the devotees who came drunk to visit the Lord Ayyappa. The police have given a punishment to them to chant the ‘Sarana mantra’ for 108 times. Since the start of the mandala season, around 30 people have been caught by the police for being drunk at Sannidhanam. Police said that measures have intensified to check and stop the flow of liquor to the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa.

Actor Jayaram and son visit Sabarimala

Sannidhanam: Malayalam actor Jayaram and his actor-son, Kalidasan came to visit Sabarimala on Wednesday evening. They have come after following strict penance and carrying the customary ‘Irumudi’. After paying homage to Lord Ayyappa and Malikappuram, the two sought the blessing of the tantri and chief priest. The two also took part in the cleanliness drive ‘Punnyam Poomkavanam’ here on Thursday morning before descending the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa.