Sabarimala: The famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa here will open for mandala pilgrimage on November 15 and devotees will be allowed entry from the next day, with strict compliance to the Covid-19 safety protocol.
The installation of the newly appointed chief priests (melsanthi) will also take place on November 15, but this ceremony is out of bounds for devotees.
The new priest appointees are V K Jayaraj Potti of Kodungallur Varikaat Madom in Thrissur and M N Ravi Kumar of Mylakodath Mana of Kidangoor, Angamaly. The latter will be the chief priest of the Malikapuram sub-shrine.
The ceremonial procession in which the ornaments (thanka anki) worn by Lord Ayyappa for the Mandala Pooja is brought will reach the temple complex, Sanidhanam, on the evening of December 25. Thereafter, the gold ornaments will be placed on the idol followed by the homage with lighted lamps (deeparadhana).
Mandala pooja will take place on December 26 noon. The temple will be closed on the same night with the rendition of Harivarasanam Keerthaanam, the famed lullaby for Lord Ayyappa.
Makaravilakku and closure
The temple will open for Makaravilakku pilgrimage on December 30 at 5 pm. Makarivailakku is on January 14. After the completion of Makaravilakku rituals, the temple will close on January 20 at 7 am.
Only those pilgrims, who have booked through the virtual queue system, will be allowed to have darshan at the temple this time.
Though the temple will be opened for Chithira Atta Thirunal ritual on Wednesday, entry is barred for pilgrims. Chief priest K S Sudheer Namboodiri will open the temple at 5 pm and light the lamps in the sanctum sanctorum. The special (visheshal) pujas will be performed on November 13.