New Melsanthis to be selected on October 17
The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala will be opened on October 16 afternoon for the five-day rituals in the Malayalam month of Thulam that begins on October 17.
Melsanthi (head priest) N. Balamurali will open the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. on October 16. The rituals will begin with Tantri (chief priest) Kandararu Rajeevararu performing the auspicious Ashtadravya Ganapati Homom on October 17 morning.
The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, will prepare the Kalasom (holy water) in 1,000 small copper urns at the Northern Mandapam of the temple on October 16 evening for the Sahasrakalasabhishekom to be performed prior to the Utchapuja on October 17.
The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on October 21 evening, marking the culmination of the monthly rituals.
Draw of lots
The draw of lots to select the new Melsanthis of the Ayyappa temple and the Malikappuram temple will be held immediately after the Ushapuja at the Sannidhanam on October 17.
The Travancore Devaswom Board has shortlisted nine priests for the post of Ayyppa temple Melsanthi and ten for the Malikappuram Melsanthi after interviews in Thiruvananthapuram a few days ago.