The 'thiruvabharanam' is the divine and sacred ornaments of Lord Ayappa. Abharanam means jewels in Malayalam (and tamil). The precious and holy jewelry adorn the Lord during the celebrations of 'Makaravilakku', the grand finale of the pilgrimage period.
The sacred jewels are kept in three wooden boxes and consist of a diamond diadem, gold bracelets, necklaces embedded with precious gems, swords, silver arrows and images of elephant, horse and leopard, all fashioned out of gold.
Thiruvanbharanam procession is comprised of three cases or caskets, the main Thriuvabharanam box, the Velli Petti and the Kodi Petti. These boxes contain the following:
Thiruvabharanam Box
Prabha Mandalam
Valia Churika
Cheria Churika
Aana (Elephant) - 2 (miniature replica)
Kaduva - 1 (miniature replica)
Velli Kettia Valampiri Sankh - 1 (Conch shell with a right hand spiral - Silver covered)
Lakshmi RoopamPoothattam (A ceremonial plate for carrying flowers)
Navarathna Mothiram (Navarathnam ring)
Sarapoli Mala - Traditional temple necklace
Velakku Mala - Traditional temple necklace
Mani Mal - Traditional temple necklace
Erukkum Poomala - Traditional temple necklace
Velli Petti
Thaila Kudam for Kalasam
Required Pooja utensils
Kodi Petti
Kodi Petti
Netti Pattom for the elephant
Chattah Idunna Jeevatha
Flags of Talapara and Udampara
Mezhuvatta Kuda

Calendar of Events for the Thiruvabharanam Procession
On the night of 27th Dhanu (Jan 11th), in the presence of the Pandalam Palace Management Committee members, in the presence of the current Valia Thampuran (currently Revathi Thirunal Ramavarmaraja) who will hand over the `Thiruvabharanams' to Devaswom Board.
Early in the morning of the 28th day of Dhanu (around 12th January), three days prior to 'Makarasankranthi', these jewels are brought from Pandalam Palace in a ceremonial procession to the Valiya Koikal Sastha Temple at Pandalam. The ornaments are adorned on the idol at Valiya Koyikal before the Sanctum Sanctorum of that temple is opened on Dhanu 28th (Jan 12th). Till 12 noon, the doors are kept open for the devotees to have a darshan. Huge crowds congregate at Valiya Koyikal temple during this period.
At noon, the doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum are closed, and in the presence of the Valia Thampuran, special poojas are conducted. At that time only the members of the royal family, Mel Santhi and those designated to carry the `Thriuvabharanams' to Sannidhanam are permitted to be present in the temple. After poojas and Deeparadhana, the containers are closed, covered with silk and garlands of marigolds placed on them. A sword which would have been sanctified, by the Mel Santhi, during the earlier poojas is also handed over to Valia Thampuran. While receiving the sword, Valia Thampuran offers a traditional monetary tribute to the Mel Santhi.
On 28th Dhanu (Jan 12th) at 1300 hrs, the doors of the temple are opened. To the accompaniment of religious music, chanting of Saranams, vocal `kurava vili' and led by lit camphor containers, the procession party in a state of `thullal' commences the procession carrying the `Thiruvabharanams'. The 12 member procession party is led by Guruswamy Kochuthandil Bhaskara Pillai. The procession party takes blessings and Vibhuti from the Valia Thampuran and steps forward to carry the `Thiruvabharanams' in a ceremonial procession to Sannidhanam. The Valia Thampuran and other family members follow the procession in palanquins. They arrive at Kaipuzha Palace to seek the blessings of Valia Thampurati (the Senior Queen of the family). After that the procession proceeds along the route Pandalam - Kulanada - Ullannoor - Aranmula - Pambadi Mannu and reaches Ayiroor temple for overnight halt.
On the second day, ie 29th Dhanu (13th Jan) they travel along Puthiyakavu - Ayikkakunnu - Vadaserikara - Madamon - Perinad - Arackal Padikal and reaches `Laha' for another overnight halt.
On 30th Dhanu/Makaram 1st (14th Jan) the procession travels along Nilakkal - Kurungayam - Valianavattom - Neelimala - Sabaripeedom and reaches Saramkuthi Aal by around 1730 hrs Indian Standard Time. A rousing reception is given to the party and the procession is escorted forward to Sannidhanam.
The magnificent occasion is further made unforgettable and surcharged with spiritual loftiness when the devotees looking up witness the hovering of the "krishnapparunthu" (kite) far above in the sky as if the Heavens themselves keep a watch on the goings on below and is considered to be a sure mark of Divine intervention.
Devotees believe that Lord Vishnu, riding on his vehicle Garuda, accompanies the "thiruvabharanam" from Pandalam to Sabarimala. It is indeed amazing that when the procession reaches Sabarimala, the kite is again sighted majestically hovering high up in the sky, which reinforces their belief. The people who witness all these amazing spectacles feel transported to a realm far above the mundane, material plane.
The ornaments are adorned on the deity at Sannidhanam behind closed doors and then the doors are thrown open for Deeparadhana and darshan. Makara Jyothi is seen at Ponnambalamedu and the divine star is also sighted. The crowd, in front of the temple, at this time is huge by any standard.

The senior most Thampuran never visits Sabarimala. The Younger Thampuran is the one accompanying the procession. He too leaves the main procession at Cheriyanavattom/Valiyanvattom as it is not considered auspicious to have a darshan of the Lord during `Mandala Kalam'. Thampuran moves onto Pampa and stays there till Makaram 3rd (Jan 17th). Thampuran reaches Saramkuthi Aal on 3rd of Makaram. He is received with `Poorna Kumbham' and rides to Sannidhanam atop an elephant. At Sannidhanam, the Mel Santhi reverently washes Thampuran's feet and offers him a coconut. After breaking the coconut, he enters the temple and has a darshan of the Lord. After darshan , he proceeds to take rest at the rest room located at Malikapuram temple. He continues to stay at Malikapuram Temple till the `Guruthi' there is over.
Meanwhile on 18th Jan (Makaram 4th) `Kalababhishekam' is conducted on behalf of the Thampuran at Sannidhanam. This is mainly to cool the idol which would have been receiving a never ending series of abhishekams. After that no abhishekams of any kind are performed. After the `Guruthi' at Malikapuram temple on 19th January, that temple closes and Thampuran arrives at the main temple to stay there for the night. No pilgrims are permitted into the temple after that till the Thampuran leaves with `Thiruvabharanams'. When Thampuran visits the temple to have private darshan on no one other than the Mel Santhi is permitted to be present. .
On the last day of the Makara Vilakku celebrations i.e. Makaram 5th morning, no pooja, except a Ganapati Homam is conducted at the temple. It is a poignant moment that day when the Thampuran has a private darshan of Ayyappa who was looked after by Thampuran's ancestors. No one is permitted inside the temple premises including the Thantris and Santhis. After a few minutes of solitary darshan and prayer, the Mel Santhi re-appears and asks for his permission to remove the Thiruvabharanams and close the temple. The key of the Sanctum Sanctorum is handed over to Thampuran. Thampuran receives the keys and offers a monetary tribute (pana kizhi) to the Mel Santhi and exhorts him to perform all the due religious rituals punctiliously till the end of his tenure. Thampuran then hands over the keys to the Devaswom Manager. Thereafter the return journey of the party, along with the Thiruvabharanam, starts for Pandalam


۩ Ayyappa DevoteeZ ۩

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