The Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala was opened on Monday for the Onam festival and the monthly pujas in the Malayalam month of Chingom that begins on Tuesday.
Kandararu Rajeevaru of Thazhamon Madhom at Mundankavu, near Chengannur, took over as the temple chief priest (Tantri) for the next one-year period on Monday. The Tantri at Sabarimala is traditionally chosen from the Thazhamon Brahmin family, which at present has two
branches, headed by senior Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu and his nephew, Kandararu Rajeevaru. The heads of the two branches of the Thazhamon family have been performing the duties at Sabarimala during alternate years as per an internal arrangement.
The one-year term of senior Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu ended on Monday on the last day in the Malayalam month of Karkidakom. Kandararu Rajeevaru will perform the rituals at Sabarimala for the next one-year period from Tuesday.
Melsanthi G. Vishnu Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. The rituals will begin on Tuesday morning with the Ashtadravya Ganapati homam.
A ‘laksharchana' will be performed at the Ayyappa temple on Tuesday morning. ‘Ashtabhishekom,' ‘Udayasthamanapuja,' ‘Pushpabhishekom' and ‘Padipuja' will be the other important rituals on Tuesday.
Hundreds of devotees from different parts of the State as well as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are camping at the Sannidhanam to offer worship at the temple on the Malayalam New Year day on Tuesday.
The Onam festival puja will begin on August 21. The Melsanthi will host a ‘Uthrada sadya' (feast) for the staff on duty at Sabarimala as well as the devotees present immediately after the Utchapuja on August 22.
The `Onasadya' at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam will be hosted by a devotee from Changanacherry on August 23.
The Ayyappa temple will be closed on August 25 evening, marking the culmination of this year's Onam festival.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has made elaborate arrangements for crowd management at the Sannidhanam in view of the heavy rush on the Malayalam new year day. Devaswom Commissioner P.V. Nalinakshan Nair is camping at the Sannidhanam.