`Makara Jyothi` is artificial: Temple board

Seeking to downplay the debate over `Makara Jyothi` of Sabarimala temple, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) said it was known to most believers that it was a man lit-fire.

Last Updated: Jan 31, 2011, 19:40 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking to downplay the
debate over `Makara Jyothi` of Sabarimala temple, Travancore
Devaswom Board (TDB) on Monday said it was known to most believers
that it was a man lit-fire, but there was a Hindu belief
behind it.

"It is known to everybody that Makara Jyothi is a fire
lit up by men at Ponnabalamedu and TDB also recognises
this`,TDB President M Rajagoplan Nair told reporters here on Monday.

However, he said the board was not going to run a campaign
to propogate that it was man-made as there was a belief behind
it into which the temple board did not intend interfere , he
said.

Kerala High Court had recently asked TDB to clarify whether
the Makarajyothi is man lit light or celestial phenonemon, in
the wake of the Pullumedu stampede in which 102 devotees died
on Janauary 14 while returning after witnessing the jyothi.

Nair was briefing media after the discussions the board
had with high priests, members of the Travancore and Pandalam
Royal Houses and authorities on temple rituals and
architecture.

The TDB president said it was not the Makara Jothi question
which was the main topic of discussion of the meeting, but
other issues like whether the temple should be opned for
throughout the year for deovtees to offer prayers and avoid
huge rush during the two-month pilgrimage season starting from
mid-November.

The unaimous opnion of the meeting was that keeping the
temple open all through the year as it was against the unique
traditions and customs of the Hill shrine of lord Ayyappa.

The authorities concerned were also against the proposal
to broaden the " holy 18 steps" leading to the shrine since
altering it was against principles of temple design.

It was pointed out by authorities concerned that the
"18steps" itself has divinity attached to it and making any
alteration would not be right.

The views that emerged out of the meeting would be discussed
and finalised by the Board, and, based on it, a report would
be submitted the High court.

The High Court had also sought the opinion of the TDB if
the temple could be opened throughout the year to reduce the
rush. According the custom followed by the forest temple, the
shrine opened only five days every month of Malayalam calendar
besides the November- January `mandala pooja` and
`makaravilakku` pilgrimage season.

Temple High Priest Kandararu Rajivaru and Vasuthu Expert
Kannipayur Narayanan Namboothri were among those present at
the meeting.

PTI