The Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala will be opened on Tuesday afternoon for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Meenom that begins on Wednesday.

According to Yatheendranath, Sabarimala Devaswom Administrative Officer, the temple Melsanthi, T.M.Unnikrishnan Namboodiri, will open the sanctum sanctorum at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The rituals will begin only with the Tantri, Kandararu Rajeevararu, performing the auspicious Ashtadravya Ganapati homom followed by Ashtabhishekom on Wednesday morning.

Sahasrakalasabhishekom and Kalabhabhishekom will be the special rituals to be held at the Ayyappa shrine during the five-day monthly puja period.

Mr. Yatheendranath said Padipuja, Ashtabhishekom, Udayashtmanapuja and Pushpabhishekom would also be held on all the five days, from March 15 to 19.

The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on March 19 evening.

Annual festival

The 10-day annual festival at the Ayyappa shrine will be held from March 31 to April 9, Mr. Yatheendranath said.

The Ayyappa shrine will be opened on March 30 afternoon. The kodiyettu ceremony marking the beginning of the annual festival will be held on March 31 forenoon.

The auspicious Utsavabali ritual will be held at the Sannidhanam after the Utchapuja from April 1 to 8.

The ceremonial Pallivetta will be held at Saramkuthi on the traditional trekking path on April 8 evening.

The temple festival will come to a close with the ritualistic Aratt ceremony on April 9. The presiding deity will be taken out in a procession to Pampa in the foothills of Sabarimala for the Aratt ceremony after the Ushapuja in the morning.

The Aratt ceremony will be held at the specially prepared Aratt kadavu in river Pampa in the forenoon. The deity will be taken back to Sannidhanam in a ceremonial Aratt procession, later, in the afternoon.

The Tantri will bring down the ceremonial flag on the holy temple mast, later, in the night, marking the culmination of the 10-day annual festival. The Ayyapa temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja.

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