The Lord Ayyappa Temple was opened on Wednesday afternoon for the monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Midhunom that begins on Thursday followed by the ceremonial mast installation and 10-day temple festival.

Melsanthi T.M. Unnikrishnan Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5 p.m. The temple rituals will begin with the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homom on Thursday morning.

Ashtabhishekom, Sahasrakalasabhishekom, Kalabhabhishekom, Pushpabhishekom, and Padipuja will be the special rituals to be performed on all days from June 15 to 19.

According to Devaswom administrative officer Yatheendranath, the temple will remain open even after the five-day monthly rituals on June 19 to facilitate purification rituals and installation of the new temple mast. The Tantri will lead the purification rituals (Shudhikriya) to be performed from June 19.

The 12-metre-long meticulously chiselled and treated teakwood has already been fixed to its specially prepared foundation in front of the temple.

The gold-covering work on the cylindrical copper coverings (chembu-para) to be placed around the mast is fast progressing.

Chief Engineer G. Muraleekrishnan told The Hindu that 9 kg gold and 130 kg copper had been used for covering the new temple mast. The installation of the new temple mast will be held between 11.40 a.m. and 1.20 p.m. on June 25.

The kodiyettu ceremony marking the start of the 10-day temple festival followed by the new mast installation would be held on June 28 morning.

The ritualistic Pallivetta will be held on July 6 and the festival will come to a close with the arat ceremony on July 7.