P.N. Narayanan Namboothiri of Panakyatpilly Illam, Thrikkariyoor, Kothamangalam was on Thursday selected as the head priest (Melsanthi) of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple.

The one-year tenure will begin on November 16. The present head priest N. Damodara Potti’s term ends on November 15.

Mr Namboothiri has been serving as the head priest at Sree Dharma Sastha Temple in Perumbavur since June. The 43-year-old priest has been serving in various temples of the Travancore Devaswom Board for the last 20 years. “It is the blessing of Lord Ayyappan,” said Mr. Namboothiri. “I will be going to Sabarimala tomorrow to pay my obeisance to the lord,” said Mr. Namboothiri.

This was the first time someone from this Illam would be taking up the priestly duties at Sabarimala, he said. Everyone at home was happy about this special duty, he added. He was in the list screened for both the Ayyappa Temple as well as the Malikappuram Devi Temple at Sabarimala.

He had earlier sent his application for the position of Sabarimala Ayyappa temple head priest in 2009 and for Malikappuram Devi Temple in 2012. He was shortlisted both times.

More In: Kochi | Kerala | National