The Travancore Devaswom Board has started dismantling the mast in front of the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
The dismantling began after Tantri Kandararu Rajeevararu performed special rituals (puja) in the forenoon on Friday.
The gold-covered copper rings placed around the concrete stem of the mast were removed.
The wooden plank atop the mast on which the ceremonial flag used to hang on was taken out for ritualistic burning.
Wooden piece burnt
As is the custom, the wooden piece of the temple mast was burnt with the Tantri performing funeral rites to it near the Aravana plant at Sannidhanam.
Prayar Gopalakrishnan, TDB president; Ajay Tharayil, and K. Raghavan, board members; V.S. Jayakumar, Devaswom Secretary; C.P. Ramaraja Prema Prasad, Devaswom Commissioner; G. Muraleekrishnan, Chief Engineer; and M. Manoj, Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court; were present.
The installation of the new mast will be held on June 25.
The teak wood for the mast was taken from the Konni forests to Pampa in September, 2015.
A team of carpenters led by master craftsmen Ananthan Achary and T.N. Sadasivan Achary completed the carpentry work in June 2016.
Then it was wrapped in a specially made cloth and immersed in a tank-like vessel for medicated oil treatment.
The new wooden mast will be covered with gold plates and it requires 130kg gold for covering the wooden mast with gold plates, according to Devaswom sources.