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As rains continue, no pilgrims to be allowed to trek to Sabarimala temple

SABARIMALA, Oct 17: The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple, a major pilgrim centre of the Hindus in south India drawing millions of devotees during the annual pilgrimage season spanning November to January, was opened on Saturday evening for the monthly puja (Malayalam month of Thulam) to begin on Sunday.

The temple will be closed on October 21 after the monthly prayers, the Travancore Devaswom Board said in a press release.

As the Met has forecast rains would continue till October 19, the temple board meeting decided not to allow pilgrims to trek to the Sabarimala Ayyappa (Sastha) temple situated on a hilltop for the monthly rituals. The temple had recently introduced an online booking system to restrict the number of pilgrims. Corona vaccination or negative RT-PCR test was also made compulsory.

The door to the sanctum sanctorum was opened by head priest VK Jayaraj Potti in the presence of Tantri Kandaru Maheshwaru Mohanaru.

On Sunday morning the rituals will start after the selection of the new priest for the next season by draw of lots. The nine shortlisted names will be placed in a silver pot and Govind Varma, the youngest member of the Pandalam royal family, will be taking the lot to select Sabarimala temple head priest, followed by a similar draw for the Malikappuram Devi temple, also situated in the premises.

Devaswom Board president N Vasu and High Court observer retired Justice N Bhaskaran will supervise the draw of lots. The tenure of the head priest is one year starting from November 16 when the annual Mandala puja pilgrim season begins.


The Sabarimala temple - The legend & rituals

The Story of Lord Ayyappa

SABARIMALA, the pilgrim centre

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