Millions witness Makar Jyothi at SabarimalaJanuary 14th, 2009 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS
Sabarimala (Kerala), Jan 14 (IANS) Millions of devotees Wednesday viewed the Makar Jyothi, or the celestial light, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, marking the end of the three-month Sabarimala pilgrim season. As soon as the first celestial light flickered on the horizon of the hill shrine at 6.45 p.m., the Sabari hills and the foothills at Pampa reverberated with religious chants. The lights flickered two more times.
P. Narayanan, a member of the Travancore Devasom Board, quoted the police as saying that the number of pilgrims Wednesday was around 3.5 million.
“Despite this massive crowd, everything went on smoothly,” he said.
Present at the site was Kerala Devasom Minister G. Sudhakaran, a communist. Barring him all others waited with folded hands when the temple priests came out to bless them.
Hindi film actor Vivek Oberoi and popular Malayalam star Jayaram were among the devotees.
Devotees carrying ‘Irumudi’ on their heads thronged an area of nearly 10-km radius around the temple as they vied for a vantage point to witness the Jyothi and pray.
Chants of “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa” rent the air as the Jyothi was sighted shortly after the rising of the Makar star.
The Sabarimala temple is situated on the Western Ghat ranges at an altitude of 914 metres above the sea level in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala.
The number of pilgrims visiting the shrine has been going up every year.