Sabarimala shrine opens

published on November 16, 2013

 The Lord Ayyappa shrine of Sabarimala, Kerala’s famous mountainous Hindu pilgrim centre, opened on Friday evening for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage amidst tight security measures. The pilgrimage season will start on the morning of Saturday, the first day of Vrischikam month of the Malayalam calendar.

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple was opened for the two-phase, 65-day pilgrimage at 5.30 pm Friday by outgoing Melshanti (head priest) N Damodaran Potti in the presence of Tanthri (traditional chief priest) Kantararu Maheswararu. No special pujas were performed on Friday. Thousands of pilgrims had reached to have darshan of the deity on Friday evening.

At 7.00 pm Friday, the ceremony marking the installation of new Melshantis was held at Sannidhanam, the abode of the Lord. PN Narayanan Namboothiri of Thrikkariyur, Ernakulam was anointed as Melshanti of Lord Ayyappa shrine while PM Manoj from Malappuram district was installed as the chief priest of the adjoining Malikappuram temple for the next one year.

Officials of Travancore Devaswom Board, the body in charge of the administration of the temple, said that every step had been taken to make the annual pilgrimage to be a smooth affair. Tight security measures have already been put in place at Sannidhanam and Pampa, the base camp for Sabarimala. About 2,000 policemen have been deployed to ensure security.

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