Confusion at Sabarimala after devotees ‘see’ Makaravilakku

It was confusion all around at the Sabarimala temple and its premises on Saturday evening as thousands of pilgrims offered prayers as twice ‘lights’ were seen lit up the Punnambalamedu at around 6.40 pm even as the Dewasom Board clarified that the actual Makaravilakku would only take place Sunday evening.

The incident has created a new controversy as certain scholars, including Kanipayyor, had come up with the argument that the traditional lighting of the Makaravilakku at Ponnambalamedu, should be done on Saturday as per astrological calculations, a claim contradicted by the Travancore Dewasom Board all along.

“The light is not the 'Deeparandhana' as the light is whitish rather than reddish in nature. It is lit by using powerful torch. Further the light is seen some distance away from the Pannambalamedu," TDB president R. Rajagopalan Nair said.

When asked whether it was the handiwork of certain vested interests, he refused to comment.

However, sources said some lights could have been lit up by the tribal people as a mark of protest against not participating them in the ritual which they claim to have the rights. “May be Mala Arya members could have made it near the spot. But the light could have also be that of search lights as it was reportedly whitish than reddish in colour,” an official said.

He said among others the role of Rahul Eswar, who supports the Mala Aryas, would be looked into.

Meanwhile ADGP P. Chandrasekharan ordered a police inquiry in to the incident. Usually the Makaravilakku festival is observed January 14 but this time it was delayed by a day. The root of the confusion in the dates rose as the ‘Makarasankranti’ fell on mid-night.

Earlier pilgrims were seen offering prayers with Ayyappa mantras being rendered. Though the authorities were repeatedly airing announcements through loud speakers, it fell on deaf ears as more and more devotees joined the melee. After 10 minutes, some of them were seen heading home with the satisfaction of ‘watching’ Makaravilakku.

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