The 10-day annual festival at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala will be held from March 18 to 27.

Talking to The Hindu , the temple chief priest (Tantri), Kandararu Rajeevararu, said the Ayyappa temple would be opened on March 14 afternoon for the monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Meenom (that begins the next day).

The head priest (Melsanthi), N. Damodaran Potti, will open the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. on March 14 and the temple rituals will begin with the Ashtadravya Ganapathi homom on March 15 morning.

Sahasrakalasapuja, Kalabhabhishekom, Ashtabhishekom, Udayasthamanapuja, Pushpabhishekom, and Padipuja will be held on the first three days.

Kodiyettu ceremony

The Tantri, assisted by Melsanthi, will perform the purification rituals (sudhi-kriya) at the Ayyappa temple on March 17 as a prelude to the Kodiyettu ceremony.

The Kodiyettu, marking the beginning of the annual festival, will be held on March 15.

The Tantri will hoist the ceremonial flag between 10.15 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Mr. Rajeevararu said Padipuja would be held after deeparadhana on all days till March 26.

The ritualistic Pallivetta will be held at Saramkuthi on the traditional trekking path on March 26 evening.