The Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was opened on Monday afternoon for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Edavom that begins on Tuesday. Though Melsanthi A.V. Unnikrishnan Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 5 pm, it was closed for the next 30 minutes to pay obeisance to the senior-most Tantri (chief priest), Kandararu Maheswararu, who passed away at Chengannur in the afternoon.
Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu could not reach Sabarimala to perform the tantric rites due to defilement (pula) for the next 11 days following his grandfather’s death. The Thazhamon Tantri family has deputed an eligible assistant priest to perform the Tantric rites at Sabarimala in the absence of the Tantri during the five-day monthly puja period.
Travancore Devaswom Board president A.Padmakumar said the astrological consultation (Devaprasnom) scheduled for May 17 to 19 has been deferred following the Tantri’s death. He said the revised schedule of the Devaprasnom would be announced in consultation with astrologers. The monthly rituals will begin with the Ashtadravya Ganapathi homom on Tuesday morning.