Makaravilakku is one of the most important festivals of Kerala, which is held every year at the famous Sabarimala Temple during the Makar Sankranti festival. Devotees of Lord Ayyappa throng the temple to see Makarvilakku (light or flame), which appears thrice on the Ponnambalamedu hill, which is just 4 km away from the temple. It must be noted that the Makara Jyothi will come from Ponnambalemedu between 6 pm to 8 pm. Sabrimala, the hill shrine in Kerala, has a grand celebration for this festival. Thousands of devotees are a part of this auspicious occasion and seek blessings from the Lord. As we gear to celebrate Makaravilakku 2023, here’s all you need to know about Makaravilakku timings, its history, significance, rituals, and how the festival is celebrated in the southern state. Devotees Throng Sabarimala Temple Ahead of Makaravilakku Festival.

The Makaravilakku festival includes the Thiruvabharanam (sacred ornaments of Lord Ayyappa) procession and a congregation at the hill shrine of Sabarimala. Every year, an estimated half a million devotees go to Sabarimala to have a darshan of this ritual on this day. Extensive Arrangements Done for Smooth Pilgrimage Ahead of 'Makaravilakku' Festival in Kerala.

Makaravilakku 2023 Date and Makara Jyothi Timings

In 2023, Makaravilakku falls on Sunday, January 15, 2023. The Makara Vilakku Sankranti Moment is at 08:57 pm on January 14. The Makara Jyothi 2023 will be seen between 6.00 pm and 8.00 pm IST on January 14, 2023.

History, Rituals and Celebrations Related to Makaravilakku

Makaravilakku is a part of a religious ritual that was practised in the past by the Malayaraya tribe. The tribe is believed to be the descendants of Malayaman Kaari in the forest of Ponnambalamedu (the place where Makaravilakku appears) and then later secretly continued by The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB). Makaravilakku has been practised for more than hundreds of years by the tribes. As per records, a temple in the Ponnambalamedu is not open to the public as it is under the control of the Forest department of Kerala. When the Sirius star appears in the sky on Makaram 1st, these tribes perform their rituals in that temple.

In Sabarimala temple, too, Arti is performed encircling the fire around the Idol by lighting camphor and ghee in a vessel. This lamp or fire, which is seen from the Sabarimalai temple, is called Makara Jyothi, but religious texts say that the fire in the Ponnabalamedu is the actual Makaravilakku. The lamp lighted during the time of Deeparadhana (arati) in the temple is known as Makara Vilakku. Makara Jyothi is a star that comes on January 14 or 15 on Makar Sankranti. It is a star that is worshipped by pilgrims in huge numbers at Sabarimala Temple in Kerala on Makara Sankranti every year. It is believed that the deity Ayyappan asserts himself as Makara Jyothi to bless his devotees.

According to mythology, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana met a tribal devotee named Sabari at Sabarimala. Sabari offered the Lord fruits after tasting them, and the Lord accepted them wholeheartedly. The Lord then saw a divine person doing tapas and asked Sabari who the person was. Sabari replied, saying it was Sasta, following which Rama walked towards Sasta, and the latter stood up to welcome Rama. The anniversary of this incident is celebrated on Makara Vilakku day.

The Makaravilakku festival lasts for seven days and is celebrated with great enthusiasm every year. Many pilgrims usually stay back in Sabarimala until the festival ends and Kuruthi pooja is performed.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 13, 2023 04:27 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website