Sabarimala temple opened yesterday
Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala is said to be opened on Tuesday afternoon for two month annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season to begin on Wednesday, the first day of Malayalam month of Vrischikom.
Nilackal and Pampa base camps started recieving up pilgrims from different parts of the country from Monday morning. They will be permitted to trek the hill on Tuesday.
The outgoing head priest (Melsanthi) S.E. Sankaran Namboodiri, accompanied by the chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevararu, had opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5 p.m on Tuesday. The Melsanthi lighted the sacred fire place (Aazhi) at the Lower Tirumuttom with the fire brought from the sanctum sanctorum.
Installation of priests
The ritualistic installation of T.M. Unnikrishnan Namboodiri of Thekumparambathu Mana at Cherpulasserry as the new Sabarimala Melsanthi was held at the Ayyappa temple sopanam at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Manu Namboodiri of Puthumana Illom at Vazhappally will be installed as the new Melsanthi at the Malikappuram Devi temple. The Tantri will lead both the ceremonies.
The temple rituals began with the Tantri performing the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homom on Wednesday morning. The new Melsanthi opened the sanctum at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The Neyyabhishekom offering to the presiding deity will begin after the Ashtabhishekom at 3.30 a.m.
The 41-day Mandalam festival will conclude on December 26 and the Mandalapuja will be performed at the Ayyappa temple amid the Utchapuja. The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja in the evening, marking the culmination of the 41-day Mandalam festival season.
The temple will reopen for the Makaravilakku festival on December 30 afternoon. The Makaravilakku will be celebrated on January 14 , 2017.
The procession carrying the sacred attire, Thiruvabharanam, will set off from the Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha temple on January 12. The temple will be closed on January 20 morning, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage season.