‘Kodiyettu' today; ‘arat' on March 19
The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was opened on Wednesday afternoon for the 10-day annual festival beginning on Thursday.
Melsanthi Ezhikode Sasi Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru performed the purification ritual, Prasadasudhi Kriya, preparatory to the temple festival, later.
The festival rituals will begin with Ashtadravya Ganapati Homom on Thursday morning.
The Tantri will perform Bimbasudhi Kriya and offer puja before the golden flag mast prior to the Kodiyettu ceremony to be held between 10.35 a.m. and 11.30 a.m., marking the beginning of the festival.
Utsavabali, an important festival ritual, will be performed at 11 a.m. from March 11 to 18. The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi and other priests, will perform the ritual.
The Utsavabali Darshan at the Ayyappa temple would be between 1.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m., according to V.S. Jayakumar, Sabarimala Executive Officer.
He said the auspicious Padipuja would be held after Pushapabhishekom in the evening from March 11 to 18. The Pallivetta ceremony would be held at Saramkuthi on March 18 evening, he said.
The festival will come to a close with the Arat ceremony in the Pampa river at 11 a.m. on March 19. An idol representing the presiding deity will be taken to Pampa in a ceremonial procession, with the accompaniment of a caparisoned elephant and the traditional temple percussion, for Arat (ceremonial bath).
The procession will return to the Sannidhanam by 10 p.m. and the temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja by 11 p.m.