Makara is the name of a zodiac sign in Indian languages known as Capricorn in English. “Jyoti” means “light” in Sanskrit. Thus “Makara Jyoti” means “Light of Capricorn”.
The most important event in Sabarimala is Makara Jyothi (usually January 14th). Thiruvabharanam or the sacred jewels of the Lord (presented by King Pandalam) arrive in Sabarimala in three boxes. At the arrival of the jewelers, the whole mountain resonates by chanting “Saranam Ayyappa” sung by millions of devotees gathered to attend the event.
The box of Thiruvabharanam, which remains the private property of the Pandalam royal family, begins its journey two days before the day of Makara Jyothi to Pandalam. The person who carries the box dances in a peculiar trance. Thiruvabharanam passes through the temple of Valiakoikkal Sastha to Pandalam, the temple of Ayiroor Puthia Kavu, the temple of Perunattil, Vlakkai, the temple of Nilaikkal Siva, Vellachimala, Pamba and Sabari Peedam before reaching Sannidhanam around 6.00 AM Makara Jyothi Every year, a Garuda hovers and flies over the Thiruvabharanam cases to protect them.
Upon their arrival at Sannidhanam, Melshanthi and Thandhri receive the sacred jewels amid the booming echoes of Sarana Ghosham.
The Thiruvabharanam box contains a diamond crown, gold bracelets, necklaces and a sword. Priests adorn the Lord with these and perform the arathi.
At the same time, a brilliant light of incredible magnificence appears on the northeast side of the temple, on the opposite mountain, in a place called Kantamala (the house of devas and rishis). It is believed that this bright flame of light is the arathi played by rishis and devas. This event marks the culmination of the pilgrimage to Sabarimala.