The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was opened on Tuesday afternoon for the monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Meenom which begins on Wednesday.
Head priest (Melsanthi) T.M. Unnikrishnan Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5 p.m. The temple rituals will begin with chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevararu performing the Ashtadravya Ganapathi homom on Wednesday morning.
Sahasrakalasabhishekom, Kalabhabhishekom, Ashtabhishekom, Udayasthamana puja, Pushpabhishekom, and Padi puja will be held on all the five days. The temple will be closed after Athazha puja on March 19 evening, marking the culmination of the five-day monthly rituals.
Devaswom Administrative Officer Yatheendranath told The Hindu that the temple will be reopened on March 30 afternoon for 10-day rituals during the annual festival period.
However, there will not be any special rituals such as Utsavabali or Sreebhoothabali during these days as the flag mast has been dismantled to facilitate installation of a new mast in June.
Mr. Yatheendran said the 10-day festival would be celebrated with special rituals after the installation of the new temple mast. The installation of the new temple mast will be held on June 25. The 10-day temple festival will be held from June 28 to August 7.
The Arat ceremony marking the culmination of the 10-day temple festival will be held in the Pampa in the foothills of Sabarimala on August 7.