Makara Jyothi is a bright divine star which would appear in the sky on 14th January of every year at Sabarimala, and large number of Ayyappa devotees would have the darshan of this holy star. As per legend, it is believed that Lord Ayyappan itself took the form of Makara Jyothi, in order to bless his devotees.
Every year, lot of devotees would observe fasting for 41 days to visit the holy Sabarimala Temple. Large number of devotees would visit Lord Ayyappa during November and December months in order to avoid heavy rush during Makara Jyothi. However, still lot of people are visiting Sabarimala during 14th January of every year, in order to witness the holy star in their eyes. Few years back, lot of people were injured due to a stampede on the Makara Jyothi festival day.
Makaravilakku is festival, which would be usually held on Makara Sankranti day in Kerala, at the Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa. In this festival day, sacred jewels of Lord Ayyappa would be taken as a procession at the shrine of Sabarimala. During this auspicious day, few lakhs of devotees would visit Sabarimala to participate in this event.During the Treta Yuga, Lord Rama met Dharma Shasta, a form of Lord Ayyappa, at the present place of Sabarimala Temple, during the auspicious Makara Sankranti festival day.In remembrance of this wonderful meeting between the two holy avatars, the festival is celebrated on the Makara Vilakku day.
Makara vilakku, is a part of a religious ritual, and it is believed that the fire in the Ponnabalamedu is the light lit by certain community of Tribal people of Kerala, and it is known as “MakaraVilakku”, and it would be lighted during the time of Deeparadhana of Ayyappan Temple. But still lot of devotees believe that Lord Ayyappa himself appears in the form of Makaravilakku.