The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was opened on Thursday afternoon for the ritualistic Niraputhari ceremony on Friday morning.

Melsanthi (head priest) N. Damodaran Potti, accompanied by chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevararu, opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. The rituals will begin with the chief priest performing ashtadravya Ganapati homom on Friday morning.

Hundreds of devotees from different parts of Kerala and the neighbouring States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh are camping at the Sannidhanam to witness the ceremonial Niraputhari between 5.30 a.m. and 6.15 a.m. on Friday. The chief priest, assisted by the head priest and other priests, will perform the Niraputhari puja.

Many devotees have brought fresh paddy and threshed paddy as offerings to the presiding deity. The deity will be offered with the nivedyom made of fresh threshed paddy on Friday morning. The paddy spikes offered to the deity will be distributed as prasadom among the devotees later.

The chief priest, assisted by the head priest and other priests, prepared holy water (kalasom) in 1,000 small copper urns and the brahmakalasom in a golden vessel at the northern mandapam of the temple on Thursday evening for the auspicious sahasrakalasabhishekom ritual to be performed prior to utcha puja on Friday. A kalabhabhishekom will also be performed prior to utcha puja.

Padi puja, udayasthamana puja, and pushpabhishekom will be the other important rituals to be performed at the temple on Friday.

The temple will be closed after athazha puja in the evening.

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