The pilgrim season at Sabarimala entered its last phase on Thursday with the frenzied spiritual dancing taken up by the teams from Ambalappuzha and Alangad representing the paternal and maternal lineages of Lord Ayyapppa, at Erumeli.
Erumeli, according legends, was the scene of a fight between Ayyappa and Mahishi, the demon princess, denoting the struggle between the good and the evil. And the good prevailed. With the mission of his incarnation over, Lord Ayyappa trekked his way to Sabarimala, the seat of Sreedharma Sastha, and immerged into the deity, according to the legend. It also says that in accomplishing his mission, Lord Ayyappa was ably assisted by his trusted Muslim lieutenant Vavar.
The Petta Thullal at Erumeli by the two teams re-enacts the legend and while doing so they also etch a dazzling example of communal harmony.
The two teams had been camping at Erumeli for the past two days. The thullal by the Ambalappuzha team commenced on Thursday after sighting the Krishna Parunthu in the skies. Traditionally the flight of the kite is believed to be the mark of approval from the deity at the Sreekrishna Swamy temple at Ambalappuzha to his devotees to commence the spiritual dance. The team led by ‘Samooha periyon’ Kalathil Chandrasekharan Nair began their dancing from the Kochambalam by 11.55 a.m.
They danced their way to the Nainar mosque (Vavar palli) across Petta Junction and were received by Erumeli Mahallu Muslim Jamaat leaders at the mosque. They went round the mosque paying obeisance to Vavar, came out and danced their way to the Valiambalam, nearly a kilometre away. They were received at the temple gates by Travancore Devaswom Board and Ayyappa Seva Sanghom authorities.
The Alangad team, representing the paternal side of Ayyappa, commenced their thullal after sighting the ‘star’ in the daylight skies. The team was led by their Guruswamy A.K. Vijayakumar. The teams after staying at the Valiambalam would take the traditional forest path to Pamba where they would participate in the Pamba Vilakku.