A Laksharchana was performed on Monday at the Lord Ayyappa Temple here in an atmosphere charged with devotion.
A large number of devotees from different parts of South India thronged the holy hillock to witness the ritual.
The temple chief priest (Tantri), Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by the head priest (Melsanthi), N. Balamurali, performed the Brahmakalasapuja.
A group of 18 priests from Coimbatore took part in the chanting of mantras at the Laksharchana led by the Tantri at the Namaskara Mandapam in the forenoon.
Brahmakalasapuja as part of Kalabhabhishekom and Sahasrakalasabhishekom too was performed at the Northern Mandapam in the forenoon.
All the three golden urns carrying Brahmakalasoms were taken out in a procession to the sanctum sanctorum, to the accompaniment of the sacred Marappani and other traditional temple percussion, for the Abhishekom prior to the Utchapuja, later.
The Tantri poured sandal paste (Kalabhom), and holy water over the Ayyappa idol, marking the culmination of the ritual. The sandal paste offered to the deity was distributed among the devotees.
Padipuja was performed before the gold-plated 18-steps (Pathinettampady) after the Deeparadhana followed by Pushpabhishekom in the evening.
A large crowd of devotees thronged the Lower Tirumuttom, braving the incessant showers, to witness the ritual.
The Tantri and Melsanthi performed the ritual. Udayasthamanapuja and Pushpabhishekom were the other important rituals performed at the temple on Monday.
The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on Tuesday, marking the culmination of the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Midhunom.