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10-day festival begins at Sabarimala

Arat procession will set off to Pampa on April 3 morning

The 10-day annual festival at Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala began on Wednesday. Hundreds of devotees witnessed the Kodiyettu (flag hoisting) ceremony in the forenoon.

The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, performed the Bimbasudhikriya and Kodimarapuja before hoisting the flag.

The preparatory rituals began around 9 a.m. and the flag was taken out in a procession for the Kodiyettu ceremony. The flag was hoisted between 9.38 a.m. and 10.20 a.m.

Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court K. Babu, Devaswom Commissioner P. Venugopal, and Sabarimala Devaswiom executive officer V.S. Jayakumar attended the ceremony.

The Utsavabali and Sreebhoothabali rituals will be performed at the Sannidhanam on all days from Thursday to April 2.

The procession for the Pallivetta to be held at Saramkuthi on the trekking path will be held on April 2 evening.

The Arat procession will set off to Pampa on April 3 morning.

The ceremony will be held at the specially-prepared Aratkadavu between 11.30 a.m. and 12.15 pm.

The Tantri will perform Aratpuja and Utchapuja on the banks of river Pampa. The Arat will return to the Sannidhanam by 9 p.m.

The Tantri will bring down the ceremonial flag and the temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja, marking the end of the annual festival.