Sabarimala: Thousands of Lord Ayyappa devotees from different parts of the country on Thursday offered worship at the famous hill shrine here during the `mandala pooja`, which marked the conclusion of the first phase of the two-month-long pilgrimage season.
The Sannidhanam atop the holly hillock reverberated with the chant of "Swami saranam" as the pooja was performed by priests at 12.30 pm after the idol of the presiding diety was adorned with the glittering golden attire `Thanka Anki.`
In the last few days, there has been heavy rush of pilgrims, a majority of them from southern states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the temple, said there had been increase in the arrival of pilgrims and the revenue during current season.
Till last week, the temple received around Rs 127 crore by way of cash offering and through other means from pilgrims. This marked an increase of over Rs 20 crore from the corresponding period last year.
Scores of contingents of police and security personnel have been deployed at the temple site base camp Pampa and along the trekking route for safety and crowd management.
Police sources said there was hassle-free flow of pilgrims in the last two days despite the rush.
After being closed tonight, the shrine will be reopened on December 30 for the `Makaravilakku` season, lasting till January 14.