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Though the administration of the Sabarimala Temple is handled by Tranvacore Devaswom Board, the royal family members of Pandalam have a special role to play. The Raja of Pandalam accompanies “Thiruvabharanam” and stays at the Pampa River on the Makaravillaku day (1st Makaram) and then reaches Sabarimala on 3rd Makaram. Devaswom Board officials escort the raja from Saramkutthi to Pathinettampadi in a procession.
Upon reaching there, the chief priest (Melsanthi) receives the Raja who then climbs up the holy steps and worships the Lord Ayyappa. At Sabarimala, the Raja stays in the Rajamandapam at the Malikappuram, carrying his sword of authority. Then he goes to the Ayyappa shrine overseeing the various poojas and returns after receiving prasadam from the Melsanthi.
“KalabhaAbhisekham” of Lord Ayyappa diety is performed on the 5th and “Guruthi” at Malikappuram on 6th of Makaram. The Raja offers ‘dakshina’ to the Thanthri, Melsanthi and others. After the ‘Guruthi’ is over, Raja moves over to a room up Pathinettampudi and next morning he sets out for Pandalam, taking the ornaments with him. Before his depature, he comes to the sanctum sanctorum to take the leave of the Lord Ayyappa, it is an extremely emotional and moving scene when the Sannidhanam holds only the two: The Lord and the Raja of Pandalam. Even the chief priest leaves the place, leaving the Raja alone to commune with the Lord Ayyappa. After a few minutes, the priest returns and seeks the permission of the Raja to close the Sreekovil for the season and hands over the key to the Raja in ritualistic gesture which re-establishes the rights of Pandalam Raja over the shrine at Sabarimala.