Makara Vilakku is a Kerala spiritual competition held yearly on the well-known Sabarimala Temple. Makaravilakku is widely known on the primary day of Makara month or masam as it’s recognized within the Malayalam calendar comparable to January as per the Gregorian Calendar. Makaravilakku is on the identical day as Makara Sankranti which is widely known throughout different components of India. On this auspicious day, devotees from throughout India flock to Sabarimala’s revered Ayyappa temple for Makara Vilakku darshan and to see the Makara Jyothi.
Makara (the zodiac signal of Capricorn) and Vilakku (mild) collectively make up the identify Makaravilakku. Probably the most important exercise throughout the Makaravilakku competition is viewing the Makara Vilakku and Makara Jyothi. The devotees gathered on the sanctum sanctorum, often known as Sannidhanam, eagerly anticipate the procession that brings the divine gold ornaments of Lord Ayyappa, often called “Thiruvabharanam,” from Pandalam Palace to the temple at Sabarimala.
It’s believed that Lord Ayyappa, often known as Ayyappa Swami, is the son of Lord Shiva and Mohini, the only real feminine manifestation of Lord Vishnu. In India, Ayyappa Swami is revered and worshipped by his followers. The pilgrimage vacation spot is his temple in Sabarimala. Devotees start preparations for the Makaravilakku on the primary of the Vrischikam month (mid-November to mid-December) in keeping with the Malayalam calendar, which is 2 months upfront.
It’s necessary to look at a quick for 41 days earlier than attending the Makara Vilakku competition or Mandala puja on the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. The Mandala puja is taken into account be extraordinarily virtuous, and it concludes on Makaravilakku day on the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. It’s believed to vary lives and grant the needs of the devotees. Sannidhanam, Paanithavalam, Saramkuthi, Marakootam, Pulmedu, Hilltop, Neelimala, Chalakayam, and Attathodu are the 9 places the place devotees can sight the Makaravilakku.
When is Makara Vilakku in 2023
In 2024, Makaravilakku will likely be celebrated on Monday, fifteenth January.
The essential timings are as follows:
Makaravilakku Timing: 6.30 pm – 7.00 pm on January 15.
Makara Vilakku Fasting Vidhi and Rituals
Earlier than visiting the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple for the Makaravilakku competition, devotees are required to stick strictly to the Makaravilakku Vidhi, often known as Mandalakaalam. Each devotee who needs to make the pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple should take part within the Mandalakaalam, which begins on the primary day of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam. Solely ladies over the age of fifty and women between the ages of 1 and 9 are permitted to enter the revered Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.
Ayyappa devotees should observe an austere life for 41 days and observe the Makaravilakku vrat. The Makara Vilakku vrat vidhi entails fasting all through the day and consuming a easy vegetarian meal solely as soon as per day. The Makaravilakku quick’s main objective is to purify the physique, thoughts, and soul.
Devotees who go to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple for Makaravilakku put on a necklace manufactured from Rudraksha and Tulsi beads and a locket of Lord Ayyappa, which is just taken off after the Makaravilakku puja and after seeing the holy mild on that day.
Alcohol, smoking, playing, and different vices are usually not allowed throughout these 41 days.
As Lord Ayyappa is reputed to be a Brahmachari, devotees ought to observe celibacy for 41 days.
The devotees ought to keep away from all luxuries and worldly pleasures throughout this time. They’re required to stroll barefoot, sleep on the ground, and solely spend time in prayer and meditation. Those that work full-time and are time-constrained should not less than pray twice day by day.
Males are usually not permitted to trim or shave their hair, beards, or mustaches.
The devotees observing Makaravilakku vrat should gown in black, deep blue, or saffron apparel up till the ultimate day of Makara Vilakku celebrations at Lord Ayyappa’s divine Sannidhanam.
The pilgrim additionally carries a fabric bundle on their heads known as “irumudi” which is split into two components. This bundle consists of rice, coconut, ghee, and camphor which is obtainable to Lord Ayyappa throughout their go to to the shrine on Makaravilakku. The ritual of filling this fabric bundle is named Kettunira.
Earlier than reaching the Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala, the devotees go to the Ganapathi temple at Pampa the place they provide prayers and worship Lord Ganapathi. From Pampa, they undertake an arduous trek by means of dense forest and tough terrains climbing the hill to the Sannidhanam. No automobiles are permitted past Pampa.
Following the Makara Vilakku darshan and Puja, the devotees conclude the rituals by visiting the Krishna Temple at Guruvayur.
The 41-day fasting and austerities come to an finish on Makaravilakku day. Among the devotees keep in Sabarimala and return solely after the Kuruthi Puja which concludes the seven-day competition.
Significance Of Makara Vilakku
The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple in Kerala has been internet hosting Makaravilakku celebrations ever because it was first established. Individuals from different states take part on this annual celebration along with these from Kerala and different southern Indian states. Observing the Makara Jyothi and the Makaravilakku within the night is likely one of the major significances of the Makaravilakku.
The Makarajyothi, a outstanding Sirius star rising that night over Ponnambalamedu in Sabarimala’s jap sky, is seen from the temple. The sacred mild often called Makaravilakku may be seen 3 times from Sabarimala whereas it occurs within the Ponnambalamedu forest, which is close to Sabarimala within the western ghats. On that day, devotees start strolling from Pampa to the Sabarimala temple within the morning and maintain the Makaravilakku quick all day.
Lord Ayyappa’s gold ornaments, often called the Thiruvabharanam, are ceremoniously transported in a procession from the Pandalam palace to the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. Lord Ayyappa’s ornaments are saved secure by the previous Royal household of Pandalam. In line with observations made through the years, an eagle is claimed to soar above the Thiruvabharanam because it travels from Pandalam Palace to the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. As soon as there, the eagle performs 9 circles of the Sannidhanam, or sanctum sanctorum, revering Lord Ayyappa. The eagle is taken into account to be Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s car or vahana.
The Thiruvabharanam procession which commenced from Pandalam Palace arrives within the night of Makaravilakku, by which the ornaments are carried by designated males. Lord Ayyappa is then adorned with the holy ornaments, after which the Deeparadhana is carried out for the divine deity. Probably the most important puja on the Sabarimala Makaravilakku day is the night Deeparadhana.
On the actual second of Deeparadhana, the Makara Jyothi can also be sighted and marks the start of the seven-day Makaravilakku competition celebration. The fervent crowd of worshippers fills the air with their chants of “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa.” The worshippers then get to view the sacred mild often called Makaravilakku from Ponnambalamedu.
In line with legend, the sunshine coming from the Ponnambalamedu plateau temple is what’s seen in Makaravilakku. At one time, the Malay Araya tribe carried out a ritual on the Ponnambalamedu temple. Nonetheless, now the Travancore Devaswom Board is in cost and continues to hold out the normal spiritual rites. In line with the rules of Kerala’s Forest Division, most people isn’t permitted entry to the Ponnambalamedu forest.
After seeing the Makara star or Makara Jyoti, a ritualistic Aarti is carried out on the Ponnambalamedu temple, and the Makaravilakku is the brightness generated from the camphor lit throughout the Aarti, seen thrice from Sabarimala. The sacred mild, often known as Makaravilakku, is considered celestial by the devotees. With the sighting of Makara Vilakku, the followers’ fervor reaches a brand new excessive, and the competition’s religious objective is attained. For the followers, it’s a affirmation of Lord Ayyappa’s omnipresence and blessings.
The devotees are distributed prasadam of Aravana payasam and appam to eat and take house.
One other significance of Makaravilakku is that it coincides with Makar Sankranti, an auspicious day when the Solar transits strikes in the direction of the north and transits from Sagittarius (Dhanu) to Makar (Capricorn). On at the present time, the Solar God is worshipped and thanked for his steadfast blessings of bountiful harvest.
The Legend of Sabarimala Ayyappa
King Rajashekara, a member of the Pandya dynasty who dominated over Pandalam within the state of Travancore, was the foster father of Ayyappa. King Rajashekara reigned over a golden age and was adored by his folks. The king, nonetheless, had no offspring and due to this fact prayed to Shiva for a kid alongside together with his queen.
In the meantime, a demon by the identify of Mahishasura underwent painful penance and obtained a blessing from Lord Brahma that nobody on earth may hurt him. With this boon, Mahishasura started to problem and damage harmless folks. Individuals fled from their houses out of concern of him. He was lastly defeated by Goddess Durga in a battle.
Mahishasura’s sister, Mahishi, determined to hunt revenge for her brother. She underwent penance and acquired a blessing from Lord Brahma that solely a toddler of Hari (Vishnu) and Haran (Shiva) may destroy her. With this boon, she began to harass the gods who begged Lord Vishnu to step in. Lord Vishnu then assumed the type of Mohini, giving start to a son by means of the union of Mohini and Shiva.
The kid borne out of this union was then despatched to the earth. King Rajashekara throughout one in every of his looking classes, found the kid whereas looking within the woods near the Pampa River. A holy man instructed him to take the kid to his palace. He added that the kid would put an finish to his dynasty’s issues and that the king would acknowledge his divinity when the boy turned 12 years outdated. The holy man suggested the king to offer the kid the identify Manikandan, which suggests “one with a golden neck,” because the little one had a gold chain round his neck.
The boy was raised within the palace by King Rajasekhara, who took the toddler house. Manikandan was a compassionate, vivid, and quick-witted little one. In the meantime, the queen gave start to a son named Raja Rajan. Manikandan was chosen by King Rajasekhara to be his inheritor obvious as a result of he believed he was chargeable for the miracles and in addition as a result of he was his eldest son. Nonetheless, the Diwan, who had a secret ambition to rule, turned the queen in opposition to Manikandan.
The Diwan made the queen feign sickness and with the collusion of the court docket doctor declared that solely the milk of a tigress may heal the queen from her sickness. Manikandan got down to deliver the tigress’ milk from the forest. He witnessed Mahishi’s atrocities whereas wandering the forest. After a battle, he killed her.
Following his battle with Mahishi, Lord Shiva appeared earlier than Manikandan and divulged the explanation for his start, and promised him that Lord Indra would help him in acquiring the tigress’ milk. Manikandan arrived again on the palace whereas perched atop Lord Indra, who had assumed the type of a tiger. The Gods and Goddesses assumed the type of tigers and tigresses and adopted after him.
The holy man then reappeared and revealed to the king who Manikandan was. The king apologized for his spouse’s actions. The day he returned from the forest, Manikandan turned twelve years outdated.
When King Rajasekhara determined to punish the Diwan, Manikandan suggested King Rajasekhara to not as every part that had occurred was God’s will. He additionally knowledgeable his father that when his obligation was full, he would return to Devaloka. As King Rajasekhara was reluctant to let him go, Manikandan granted him to assemble a temple in his honor. Manikandan shot an arrow, which landed at a location often called Sabari. He instructed the King to assemble the temple there earlier than leaving.
The inspiration stone for the Sabarimala temple was laid by the king following the recommendation of Sage Agastya. Manikandan declared that solely devotees who adhered to strict penance and abstinence for 41 days would obtain His blessing.
Legend has it that Lord Ayyappa or Dharmashastha as he’s additionally recognized despatched Parasuraman, the creator of Kerala, to Sabarimala to carve and set up the idol of Lord Ayyappa on Makara Sankranti day.
Every year, tens of millions of devotees go to the temple with irumudis and garlands whereas singing hymns to Lord Ayyappa. They take a dip within the revered Pampa River and ascend the 18 steps often called Pathinettam Padi to see the Lord.
The temple is located atop one of many Western Ghats’ tough hills. Most devotees undertake the principle pilgrimage between November and January. Earlier than endeavor the pilgrimage, devotees apply strict penance. The shrine is frequented by folks of all races and religions. The shrine is just open to ladies who’re previous menopause or younger women who haven’t reached puberty.