Golden Attire (''Thanga Anki'') procession to Sabarimala Ayyappan temple from Aranmula, Kerala

box containing golden attire for God Ayyappa. newindian
Sri Sabarimalai Ayyappan temple. Kerala.
In Kerala, at the popular Sri Sabarimalai Ayyappan temple the ceremonial procession carrying the sacred golden attire (Thanga Anki) as part of Mandala puja is  yet another unique but interesting ritual  that takes place every year. 
Sri Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula,
Closely associated with this annual ritual is the famous 
Sri Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula, Kerala.
Thanga Anki (golden attire) procession, Sri Ayyappan temple, Kerala.
Artisans working on a motorised chariot to carry Thanka Anki in Kozhencherry
It is at Sri Parthasarathy (God Vishnu) Temple on the banks of river Pampa at Aranmula, the religious procession will start to the accompaniment of drums and music for the Madalapuja at Sabarimala.  Every year, lakhs of devotees visit the hill temple during the Mandala puja and the procession carrying the ‘Thanka Anki’ (golden attire)  from Aranmula will  reach the Sabarimalai during this time. On the day of  procession lots of devotees including women will visit the Parthasarathy temple  in the morning hours to witness the ceremonial start of the annual procession carrying the golden attire in a  speciall prepared motorized chariot modeled on a typical Kerala temple.
God Ayyappa wearing Thanga Anki, Sabarimala.
The devaswom board members (govt. undertaking) will make the golden attire -Thanga anki available at 4 am in the morning. Normally, all valuable temple jewels are kept in a special strong room for safe custody.  On the temple premises - Aanakkottil of the Parthasarathy Temple, an  Ayyappa idol wearing the Thanka Anki will be kept from   5 am to 7 am  for Pothu Darshanam  for the benefit of devotees. After the common darshan is over, the temple priest will, as usual, perform aarthi to the deity  before it is taken to the motorized   chariot parked out side the temple.  With the accompaniments of traditional temple music, drums, etc.,  
the chariot will begin the journey  around 7.15 am toward the Sabarimala in the midst of chants of  Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa. The participants can feel the religious ecstasy and fervor through out the journey to the hill temple. To avoid  and avert  certain unsavoury and untoward incidents on the way the procession 
is accompanied by a contingent of  25 armed police team 
headed by DSP.  This will be witnessed by many VIPS and govt. officials.
As for the golden attire, records show that it was presented to the

Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple  in 1973 by the late Chithira Tirunaal Balarama Varma of the erstwhile Travancore royal dynasty as his  special offering to the presiding deity. The rulers of Travancore for centuries have been ardent Hindus  and give due importance to the preservation and retention of our age-old Hindu temple rituals and traditions, besides upholding the culture of Kerala.  Their contribution to the Hindu temples in terms of grants and jewels is vast. 
The Travancore Devaswom Board since 1973 has been observing this custom every year  by reverentially taking the Thanga Anki to Sabarimala during the Mandala Puja in January ever year. The jewel that weighs 420 sovereigns is worn by Lord Ayyappan  during the Mandala Puja.
The religious  procession will  get to  Raktakanta Swami Temple at Omalloor near Pathanamthitta, later, in the evening.Then, it will pass through  Muringamangalam Temple near Konni  and then will halt at the Kakkattu Koickal Sastha Temple at Perinad on December 25 evening. On
December 26  before noon the procession will reach Pampa; en route  at several places  the procession will get special treatment. From Pampa to the Sannidhanam the wooden box containing Thanga Anki will be entrusted to the Ayyppa Seva Sanghom volunteers. They will carry the box on their head to the temple in a separate procession.  The anki will adorn the lord prior to the deeparadhana to be held at the Ayyappa Temple, later, in the evening Mandalapuja.  The box will be will be open for Makaravilakku  festival - on January 14.  Earlier the main deity will be adorned with the Anki  before the Mandala-puja to be held as part of the Utcha puja  (Utcha Kala puja) between 1 pm and 1.30 pm on December 27.
 After the Athazha puja, later, at 11.45 pm, the Ayyappa Temple will be closed  marking the  end  of the 41-day Mandalam festival.The temple will reopen on December 30 afternoon for the Makarvilakku