Sabarimala temple to reopen for monthly puja on June 14
The anniversary of idol installation at the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was celebrated with ritualistic fervour on Sunday.
A large number of devotees from different parts of South India thronged the holy hillock of Sabarimala to worship the presiding deity and attend various special rituals held as part of the celebrations. They undertook the pilgrimage to the forest shrine, braving the heavy downpour in the forests.
The rituals began in the early morning hours of Sunday with the Tantri (chief priest), Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu, performing the auspicious Ashtadravya Ganapathi homom followed by Ashtabhishekom.
Eighteen priests led by the Tantri took part in the Laksharchana performed in the forenoon.
The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, P.N. Narayanan Namboodiri, performed the Brahmakalasapuja and the Kalabhapuja at the Namskara Mandapam.
The Brahmakalasom and Kalabhom (sandal paste) were taken out in a customary procession to the sanctum sanctorum, with the accompaniments of the sacred Marappani and other traditional temple percussion, prior to the Utchapuja.
The sandal paste offered to the deity was distributed as prasadom among the devotees, later. Padipuja, Udayasthamanapuja, and Pushpabhishekom were the other important rituals performed at the temple on Sunday.
The junior Tantri, Mahesh Mohanararu, son of Kandararu Mohanararu, performed the rituals on Sunday as his 89-year-old grand father Kandararu Maheswararu, who is the senior Tantri, could not turn up owing to age-related sickness.
The Ayyappa temple will reopen on June 14 for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Midhunom that begins the next day. The temple will be closed after the culmination of the five-day rituals on June 19 evening.