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Flame of faith runs into rough weather

Sabarimala temple's priest confesses that there is nothing godly behind the mystery flame that flickers thrice on the Makara Sankranti day every year sending million of devotees into frenzy, reports Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: May 30, 2008 00:27 IST
Ramesh Babu

After a crackdown on fake godmen now the Left Front government is planning to unravel the mystery behind the celestial light at the hill shrine of Sabarimala. For the first time it admitted that the divine light is a man-made phenomenon, not a miracle.

Temple supreme priest Kandararu Mahewararu was the first to make the confession that there was nothing godly behind the mystery flame that flickers thrice on the Makara Sankranti (Makaram first) day every year sending million of devotees into frenzy.

State Temple Affairs Minister G. Sudhakaran and the Travanore Devasom Board (TDB), which manages the affairs of temple, backed the priest’s contention.

Known as ‘Makara Vilakku’ the light blinks thrice at the forest on top of the Ponnambalamedu, some distance away from the hill temple, on the evening of Makara Sankranti when the three-month seasonal pilgrimage touches its peak. Millions of devotees converge at the hilltop to witness the celestial light.

Though the government and TDB disowned the divine light, former TDB chief Raman Nair claimed that the police and the TDB officials jointly light the fire on the orders of the state government. Now rationalists and others have asked the government to tender an apology for “deceiving million of devotees for years together.”

Rationalists had claimed for years that the light was lit by TDB officials.