The annual Chithira Aattavisheshom ceremony was celebrated with ritualistic fervour at Sabarimala on Saturday.
An auspicious Kalashabhishekom was held at the Ayyappa Temple as part of the ceremony prior to the Utchapuja. The Tantri, Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by Melsanthi, N. Vishnu Namboodiri, performed the Kalabhapuja at the northern mandapam in the forenoon.
The Brahmakalasom, a golden urn carrying sandal paste (kalabhom), was taken out in a ceremonial procession to the sanctum sanctorum, with the accompaniments of the sacred Marappani and other traditional temple orchestra, for pouring it over the Ayyappa idol prior to the Utchapuja. The sandal paste offered to the deity was distributed as prasadom among the devotees, later.
Padipuja, Udayasthamanpuja, Ashtabhishekom and Pushpabhishekom were the other important rituals performed at the Ayyappa Temple on Saturday.
The temple was closed after the Athazhapuja, later, in the evening to be opened on Sunday afternoon for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival that begins on Monday, the first day in the Malayalam month of Vrischikom.
Incidentally, the Melsanthi has performed his last puja at the Ayyappa shrine on Saturday as his one-year term ends on Sunday the last day in the Malayalam month of Thulam.
Installation of the 45 year old G. Vishnu Namboodiri of Ezhakkadavu Cheruthala Madhom at Mavelikkara-Cherukol and the 39 year old K.V. Madhavan Namboodiri of Kodungalloor Kottoor Cheruvally Illom in Aluva as the new head priests (Melsanthi) of the Ayyappa Temple and Malikappuram Devi Temple, respectively, will be held at a ceremonial function at the respective temple sopanam on Sunday evening.
Both the new Melsanthis will assume charge on Monday morning.