Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple to be opened from November 15
The most respected and famous Ayyappa Temple will open from November 15 for the two-month long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage, Sabarimala is a hive of activities as various stakeholders are busy making final arrangements for the smooth conduct of the pilgrimage season.
The outgoing Melsanthi T.M. Unnikrishnan Namboodiri will open the sanctum sanctorum at 5 p.m. on Wednesday for the 41-day Mandalam pilgrim season that begins on Thursday, the first day in the Malayalam month of Vrischikom.
The ceremonial installation (Abhishekom) of A.V. Unnikrishnan Namboodiri of Mangalathu Azhakathu Mana at Kodakara near Chalakkudy as the new head priest (Melsanthi) at the Ayyappa Temple will be held at the Ayyappa Temple sopanam on Wednesday evening.
The installation of the 38-year old Aneesh Namboodiri of Varickom Illom at Mainagappally in Kollam as the new Melsanthi of the Malikappuram Devi Temple will also be held at Malikappuram later.
The Tantri (chief priest), Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu, will perform the installation rites. The temple rituals will begin with the Tantri performing the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homam on Thursday morning.
The Ayyappa Temple will be kept open for a total of 16 hours a day during the annual pilgrimage season, according to Devaswom executive officer V.N. Chandrashekharan.
Meanwhile, pilgrims from different parts of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have already started camping at Pampa, awaiting the opening of the temple on Wednesday.