Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam to observe Ayyappan Vilakku

Venkat Raman

Venkat Raman

Auckland, November 15, 2020

Annual Festival at Sri Ganesh Temple, Papakura on November 28 (5pm)

‘Ayyappan Vilakku,’ one of the most endearing and pious festivals of Hindus, especially from the South Indian State of Kerala will be held in Auckland next fortnight.

The Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam is organising the three-hour-long Festival on Saturday, November 28, 2020 at Sri Ganesha Temple, located at 4 Dent Place, Red Hill, Papakura, South Auckland.

Samajam President Gopal Ayyar said that the Programme will commence at 5 pm with the arrival of ‘Irumudi’ (a small bundle of two compartments comprising offerings for Lord Ayyappan, traditionally carried by devotees visiting Sabarimala, the abode of the Lord).


Ayyappan Devotees bringing Irumudi to Lord Ganesha Temple, Papakura in 2019

 The Programme

“Chief Priest Parameswaran (Chandru) will receive the Irumudi and commence the Festival with Ekakumba Poojai, Sankalpam and Vigneshwara Poojai. Devotees will also witness Rudrabishekam, Neyyabhishekam and Kumbhabhishekam. Bhajan and folk songs in praise of Lord Ayyappan will have the participation of devotees, leading to Mahadeepaarathanai and Maha Prasadam. The event will conclude by 8 pm,” he said.

Mr Ayyar said that while the procedure is elaborate including a ritual procession at various cities in Kerala and at the Sabarimala Temple, the event in Auckland will have the same piety and devotion, although in a smaller version.

He said that sponsorships and donations of any amount will help to meet the cost of the Festival.

Kindly contact 022-4524229; Email:; Website:,” he said.


Chief Priest Parameswaran (Chandru) performing the Ayyappan Vilakku Poojai, assisted by Venkat Subramaniam

Auckland Hindu Malayali Samajam

Established three years ago, the Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at promoting the Hindu way of life among the younger members of the community.

Mr Ayyar said that it is politically agnostic and non-partisan.

“We are informed but will not favour or endorse any political party or position. We do not intend to be affiliated with any other religious or political organisation. The Samajam’s key initiative is to spread the awareness of our rich tradition and the Hindu tenets to our younger generation,” he said.

The Executive Committee of the Samajam comprises Gopal Ayyar (President), Biju Ambika Surendran (Vice-President), Shobhana Surendranath Nair, (Secretary), Rakesh Varma (Joint Secretary), Shanta Menon (Joint Secretary), Divakara Menon (Treasurer), Rajesh Poomarathil (Joint Treasurer), Athulya Mohandas, Krishnakumar Menon, Ravishankar Ramachandran, Venu V Parameswaran Nair (Members)


Devotees singing in praise of Lord Ayyappan at the 2019 Festival

About Ayyappan Vilakku

Ayyappan Vilakku is a popular ritual held in Temples, public gatherings and homes to invoke the blessings of Lord Ayyappan.

Although primarily a Festival of people from Kerala, it is now being increasingly observed by people of other regions. Ayyappan Vilakku is an observance conducted during the main pilgrimage to Sabarimala.

The Festival brings together artists who create miniature Temples for Lord Ayyappan, Lord Vavar, the Muslim warrior who became a close friend, Goddess Bhagavathi and other Deities. These are created using the stem of banana plant and tender fronds of the coconut tree.


Chief Priest Parameswaran (Chandru) holding the Ayyappan Vilakku (2019)

Following the installation of the Deities, the main programme will commence with a ritual procession, with devotees carrying lamps, beating drums and women performing Udukkukotti Pattu (folksongs). In some places, Panchavadyam (traditional Orchestra with five musical instruments) and caparisoned elephants as added attractions.

Dance performances by oracles (Velichappadukal) in accordance with the rhythmic drum beats of Chenda and Udukku add to the spectacle. Poojai, Bhajans and other recitations with a narration of the story of Lord Ayyappan will continue throughout the night.

About Lord Ayyappan

Lord Ayyappan (Ayyappa, Sastha, Sabari or Manikandan is a Hindu Deity, with a dedicated Temple at Sabarimala, inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Perinad Village, Pathanamthitta District in the South Indian State of Kerala.

Sabarimala is one of the largest annual pilgrimage sites in the world with about 50 million devotees visiting the complex every year.

According to Hindu theology, Lord Ayyappan is the son of Harihara (Maha Vishnu in the form of Mohini) and Shiva). Lord Ayyappan is also called Ayyappa, Sastavu, Hariharasudhan, Manikandan, Shasta or Dharma Shasta and Sabari.

Lord Ayyappan at Shabrimala, Kerala


Celibate God

The iconography of Ayyappan depicts him as a handsome Celibate God doing Yoga and as an epitome of Dharma, who wears a bell around his neck. In the Hindu pantheon, his legends are relatively recent but diverse. He is honoured by Muslims in Kerala, with legends wherein Lord Ayyappan defeats and gains worship of the Muslim brigand Vavar.

Lord Ayyappan riding a tigress after vanquishing Mahishi

In South India, Lord Ayyappan is shown riding a tigress, but in some places such as Sri Lanka he is shown as riding a white elephant.

(Pictures by Graphy Lounge, Auckland)

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