An astrological consultation held in connection with the proposed construction of an Annadana Mandapam at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam has kicked up a row with various responsible quarters criticising the act reportedly held without obtaining the clearance of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

The astrological consultation (known as ‘raasi-vaickal') was reportedly organised by Devaswom administrative officer K.Rajan and a Kochi-based private construction company that has been tasked to prepare the design and project report of the proposed four-storey Annadana Mandapam.

Renowned astrologer Padmanabha Sarma conducted the astrological consultation in the presence of astrologer Kanippayur Krishnan Namboodiripad and the administrative officer, at the Namaskara Mandapam of the Ayyappa Temple on Wednesday morning.

Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu and Melsanthi N. Balamurali too were present at the Namaskara Mandapam on the request of the administrative officer.

Though Devaswom executive officer M. Sathhishkumar, who is the administrative head of Sabarimala devaswom, was present on the temple premises, he distanced himself from the astrological consultation.

Talking to The Hindu from Sabarimala, TDB president M. Rajagopalan Nair said the astrological consultation was not at all a ‘Devaprasnom' as “misinterpreted by certain media.” He said it was the private company and not the TDB that had initiated it as part of the design work.

Mr. Nair said the TDB had nothing to do with Wednesday's astrological consultation.

Meanwhile, TDB members K.V .Padmanabhan and K. Cicily said the astrological consultation was unauthorised and was held without informing the Board.

The executive officer, when contacted, said an astrological ‘thamboola-prasnom' was what held at the Sannidhanam and the TDB did not have any role in it.

Devaswom Commissioner N. Vasu told The Hindu that the act was in gross violation of the rules prescribed in the Devaswom Manual and stern action would be taken against the people involved in it. Mr. Vasu said any such astrological consultation at Sabarimala should have been cleared by the TDB and executed by the Devaswom Commissioner

on the authorisation of the Board.

The Kerala High Court has also taken serious note of the issue and has reportedly sought detailed report on it from the board authorities,

official sources said.

According to sources at Sabarimala, the astrologers have reportedly found the site identified near the incinerator dumping yard suitable for the proposed Annadana Mandapam, besides suggesting certain rearrangements in the design.

YKS concern

In a statement issued here on Wednesday evening, the Yogakshema Sabha State president Akkeeramon Kalidasan Bhattathirpad has strongly condemned the astrological consultation held at Sabarimala allegedly keeping the temple administration in the dark.

The YKS leader alleged that there was every reason to suspect commercial interests of certain TDB quarters in conducting such unauthorised act and that too on the temple premises itself.

Mr Bhattathiripad said the astrological consultation reportedly held without even obtaining the presiding deity's consent (Anujna) was against the tradition and custom and the very principles of astrology. It was unfortunate that the Tantri and Melsanthi, who were unaware of the factual position, too have been dragged into the controversy by

the devaswom administrative officer, he added. The YKS leader has also called for stern action against the people behind the astrological consultation.