Customs Of Royal Family
The Raja of Pandalam is treated as the father of Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala and the founder of the temple .The present Valiya koikkal temple at Pandalam was the private place of worship for the members of the Royal family. When the territories under Pandalam kingdom were assumed by Travancore in 1820 AD as per a written agreement between the rulers of the two kingdoms, the administration of all the temples within Pandalam area got transferred to the government of Travancore which was subsequently handed over to the Travancore Devaswom Board after Independence.
The understanding arrived at, during the transfer was that "the
customs and rituals will be followed in the traditional way". Accordingly the Pandalam royal family has had a significant role to perform in the ritualistic observances at Valiya koikkal and Sabarimala temples.
Devotees in large numbers come to Pandalam to obtain the blessings of the Raja who offer them 'vibhuthy'. The Pandalam family is an off-shoot of the Pandya kings of Madurai who ,according to Sage Agasthya's 'Halasya puranam', were the direct descendants of Lord Siva and Madurai Meenakshi. Thus the members of the family are considered Saivites. This accounts for their practice of blessing the devotees by giving them 'vibhuthy' or the sacred ash. A member of the Royal family also stays in Pampa during the pilgrimage season to offer blessings and 'vibhuthy' to the ayyappas.
A member of royal family chosen by the Valiya Thampuran (Senior Raja) accompanies the Thiruvabharanam procession from Pandalam to Sannidhanam and back. All through the journey, people in large numbers pay their respects to the Raja of Pandalam and receive 'vibhuthy' from him. Devotees ,particularly women,who are prohibited from going to Sabarimala, can have opportunities for 'darshan' of the holy ornaments at Srampickal Palace during Mandalam-Makaravilakku season.
Other customs include :
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