Kerala: The Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple will reopen at 5 pm on 16 October for the ‘Thula masam’ poojas, said the Travancore Devaswom Board on Thursday. on the next day a draw of lots would be held to select its next melshanti (head priest), the Travancore Devaswom Board said on Thursday.
The temple would be opened and the lamps would be lit by the present melshanti V.K. Jayaraj Potti in the presence of the Thanthri Kandararu Mahesh Mohanaru, a release issued by the Board said. Subsequently, the Upadevata temple would be opened and a lamp would be lit there also. A fire would also be lit in front of the 18th step of the path leading to the shrine, it said.
It also said that there would be no poojas on the day the temple is opened. The Board also said that melshantis for Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples would be selected via draw of lots on October 17 after the Ushapoojas get over.
The lots would be drawn by two boys above 10 years of age from the Pandalam Palace. Both melshantis would continue as such for the next one year, the release said. The Board further said that devotees will be allowed to enter Sabarimala from October 17 to 21 and entry would be permitted only through virtual queue booking.
Devotees arriving at the temple must have a two-dose COVID vaccine certificate or an RT-PCR negative report with them, it said and added that Neyyabhishekam, Udayasthamana Pooja, Kalabhabhishekam, Padipooja and Pushpabhishekam would be the rituals performed during this period.
The temple would be closed on October 21 and then reopen on November 2 as part of the Chithira Attavishesham. Thereafter, on November 3 the temple would be closed again and reopen on November 15 for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival.