Pathanamthitta: Harivarasanam is a song sung in the Sabarimala temple when the temple doors close at night. The song is known to trigger a special kind of emotion among devotees in the famous Kerala shrine.

Harivarasanam is known as the lullaby for Lord Ayyappa. The song was sung in the temple. Later it was decided that the song must be recorded and played in the temple premises.

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Famous singer KJ Yesudas, known as 'Ganagandharvan' (celestial singer), had originally sung the song Harivarasanam for the 1975 Malayalam film, Swamy Ayyappan and recorded the song afresh later, which has since been played at the shrine every night after the last puja of the day (Athazha pooja).

Recently, some changes were incorporated in the song and was re-recorded. The music is composed in Madhyamavathi raga by renowned music director G Devarajan. The composition has 352 letters,108 words in 32 lines (eight stanzas).

The lyrics of this Sanskrit Hindu devotional song called ‘Hariharasudhastakam’ was composed in 1950 by Kumbakudi Kulathur Iyer and composed by the late music director Devarajan.

When the song is played in Sabarimala, the Melshanti (chief priest) and the other priests stand on either side of the Ayyappa idol and recite the lyrics. At the same time, one by one, the priests exit the sanctum sanctorum without making noise as if to symbolise that Ayyappa is fast asleep and not disturb him.

The chief priest or Melshanti puts off each of the lamps in the sanctum sanctorum. As the song ends, only the Melshanti will be inside the Sreekovil.

When the final line is sung, then the chief priest closes the door of the sanctum sanctorum and locks it.

Ironically, Yesudas is a Christian, who faced 'no entry' at Kerala's famous temple Guruvayoor, but his voice resonates through the 18 divine steps of the now contentious site - Sabarimala.