Aravanathoni, a slice of Sabarimala's rich heritage, lies abandoned now

Aravanathoni, a slice of Sabarimala's rich heritage, lies abandoned now
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Sabarimala: The 'Aravanthoni', which was once used to cool the 'aravana prasadam' of Lord Ayyappa, lies in an abandoned state in front of the Annadhana Mandapam.

Before the Aravana plant was built, it was in this boat-shaped structure that the Aravana was cooled. The plant now has steaming and cooling facility.

In the olden days, the Aravanathoni played a crucial part in the making of the Aravana.

Firewood was used as fuel to prepare the Aravana. It was a tedious process.

When the Aravana was ready, it was poured in to the Aravanathoni, a boat-shaped structure made of 'kambaka' wood. The Aravana was then gently stirred till it attained room temperature. Then plastic containers were dipped in the boat manually for supplying Aravana to devotees.

During all stages of the preparation, human effort was involved. But when the rush of pilgrims grew exponentially, the mechanized Aravana plant was set up. Modern facilities made things easier. Aravanathoni soon fell into disuse. Aravana is now mechanically filled in paper tins.

Aravanathoni was dumped in a corner of the Aravana plant for many years. Later, to save space at the plant, the boat was shifted to the Annadana Mandapam where it lies now.

Sadly, the Travancore Devaswam Board authorities are yet to realize the heritage value of the historic Aravanathoni.

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