Sabarimala: The Makaravilakku festival season began on Friday at the Lord Ayyappa temple here with the reopening of the hill shrine, which was closed on December 26 after the end of the first phase of the 41-day-long ‘Mandala Pooja’ pilgrimage season. Chief priest (tantri) Kandararu Rajeevararu along with head priest (melsanthi) T N Unnikrishnan Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the evening.
Crowd management has been strengthened at the hill shrine against the back ground of a minor stampede which occurred at the temple complex (Sannidhanam) on the eve of the Mandala Pooja, causing injuries to few devotees. Makaravilakku will be celebrated on January 14.
The procession carrying the sacred attire, Thiruvabharanam, will set off from the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha temple on January 12. The temple will be closed on January 20 morning, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage season.