The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was opened on Saturday for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Midhunom that begins on Sunday. The 89-year-old senior Tantri (chief priest), Kandararu Maheswararu, assisted by his grandson and the junior Tantri, Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu, reached the holy hillock in the forenoon.

The Melsanthi, (head priest), P.N. Narayanan Namboodiri, opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. in the presence of Maheswararu, Mahesh, and executive officer B. Mohandas.The temple rituals will begin with the Tantri performing the Ashtadravya Ganapati homom on Sunday morning, followed by Ashtabhishekom.

Laksharchana

A Laksharchana will be performed at the temple and a Kalabhabishekom prior to the Utchapoooja.

The Tantri will perform the Brahmakalasapuja and Kalabhapuja at the Namaskara Mandapam. The Brahmakalasom and Kalabhom (sandal paste) will be taken out in a customary procession to the sanctum sanctorum. The sandal paste offered to the presiding deity will be distributed among the devotees as prasadom.

A Sahasrakalasapuja will be performed on Monday. Padipuja, Udayasthamanapuja, and Pushpabhishekom will be the other important rituals to be performed on all the five days.The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on June 19, marking the culmination of the monthly rituals.

Special Correspondent writes from Thiruvananthapuram: Devotees may reserve rooms at the Sannidhanam by logging on to www.travancoredevaswomboard.org. An official press note issued here said the Niraputhari ritual this year would be held on August 1.