Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala will be opened on Friday evening for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Thulam that begins on Saturday.

The Melsanthi (head priest), N. Vishnu Namboodiri, will open the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 pm on Friday and the rituals will begin with the Tantri (chief priest), Kandararu Maheswararu, performing the

Ashtadravya Ganapati homom on Saturday morning.

According to devaswom sources, the draw of lots to select the new Melsanthi for the Lord Ayyappa Temple as well as the Malikappuram Devi Temple will be held at the respective temple sopanam on Saturday morning.

The newly selected Melsanthi will assume charge on the first day in the Malayalam month of Vrischikom for the next one year period.

Padipuja, Udayasthamanapuja, Pushpabhishekom and Ashtabhishekom will be performed at the Ayyappa shrine on all the five days. The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on October 21 evening, marking the culmination of the monthly puja.

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