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Pampa is the most important and holy spot on the way to Sannidhanam. It is here Lord Ayyappa was found by King Rajasekara. The Pampa river is as holy as the Ganges. The Pampa water purifies one from curse and evil.
The Pithrubali at Pampa :
On reaching Pampa,the pilgrims,after setting their camps , take a holy dip in the river,Pampa. Many of
them perform the rite Pithrubali , the propitiatory rites for the ancestors,expressing their love and regard
for those who had passed away. There are specially trained priests who guide the pilgrims to perform the
rites.It is metioned in the Ramayana that Sri Rama performed the Pithrubali on the bank of Pampa.The
place also gained special importance in this respect after Ayyappa performed the rites for the
soldiers,who were killed in the battle against Udayananand his horders.
Pampa Feast :
Pampa Annadhanam (feast) and Pampa Vilakku are important rituals followed at the Pampa bank. Pilgrim groups prepare feast with the provisions taken from the Irumudi of the pilgrims. Thousands of pilgrims are fed at Pampa. When a group of pilgrims are ready to fed the fellow pilgrims they display a large papad outside their cottage. It is usually the kanniswamy who are fed first, as they are considered to be Lord Ayyappan himself. After the feast the Guru is honoured by pilgrims prostrating him and offering him the Gurudakshina.Kanni Ayyappas move from kitchen to kitchen collecting the ashes which are considered to be very sacred. It is done with the belief that Lord Ayyappa would have had the feast in one of the cottages in the disguise of a pilgrim. The ash is taken home as prasad.
Pampa Vilakku :
On sunset pilgrim believe that Lord Ayyappan will be present at the banks of Pampa and the cottages are decorated with lights and candles. Small floats are decorated with lights called Pampa Vilakku are let in the Pampa river.