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Makaravilakku is a sacred and auspicious festival celebrated annually at the Sabarimala Temple in the state of Kerala, India. It falls on the day of Makar Sankranti, which typically occurs on January 14th, marking the end of the Sabarimala pilgrimage season.

The festival is closely associated with the sighting of the Makaravilakku (Makara Jyothi), a celestial light that appears on the horizon of the Ponnambalamedu hill, visible from the Sabarimala Temple. Devotees believe that witnessing the Makaravilakku is a divine blessing and an auspicious start to the new year.

Thousands of devotees, including pilgrims who have completed the arduous trek to Sabarimala, gather at the temple premises and surrounding areas to witness the Makaravilakku. The event is marked by fervent prayers, chanting of hymns, and offerings to Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity of Sabarimala.

The Makaravilakku festival also coincides with the conclusion of the Mandala Pooja and Makaravilakku season, during which millions of devotees undertake the pilgrimage to Sabarimala, known as the 'Makaravilakku season.' Pilgrims endure a rigorous 41-day fasting period, adhere to strict vows, and undertake the pilgrimage to seek the blessings of Lord Ayyappa.

Throughout the festival, the Sabarimala Temple complex and its surroundings are adorned with lights, decorations, and colorful festivities. Traditional music, dance performances, and cultural programs add to the celebratory atmosphere, creating a sense of joy and camaraderie among devotees.

Makaravilakku is not only a religious event but also a cultural phenomenon that holds deep significance for the people of Kerala and devotees of Lord Ayyappa worldwide. It symbolizes faith, devotion, and the triumph of light over darkness, marking the beginning of a new spiritual journey for devotees in the coming year.

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