New head priest N Parameswaran Namboothiri opening Sabarimala shrine on Vrishikam 1 | Photo: V K Aji | Mathrubhumi
Sabarimala: The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala opened for the Mandalam-Makaravillaku pilgrimage season on Tuesday morning. The new head priest N Parameswaran Namboothiri opened the shrine on Tuesday, the first day of Vrishchikam, at 4 am. After this, pilgrims were allowed to enter Sannidhanam. The annual pilgrimage season lasts for about two months.
Current head priest V K Jayaraj Potti had opened the shrine on Monday at 5 pm in the presence of Tantri Kandaru Mahesh Mohanaru. Following this, the head priest handed over charge to the newly appointed head priest N Parameswaran Namboothiri and Malikappuram head priest Sambhu Namboothiri.
The Mandalam season lasts till December 26. Later, the temple will open on December 30 for Makaravilakku festival which continues till January 20, 2022. The pilgrims are allowed to have darshan till January 19. Mandala Pooja will take place on December 26. The Lord’s idol will be adorned with sacred ornaments on Makaravilakku day which falls on January 14.
All pilgrims who made booking via virtual queue system can have darshan from Tuesday onwards. Upto 30,000 people are allowed to have darshan per day, only 8000 pilgrims have booked in the first four days. If those who booked via virtual queue on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday cannot make it, then they can seek darshan with the same tickets for one more week from November 18 onwards.
As water level rose in Pampa river, the devotees are not allowed to take bath in the river till Thursday. Also spot booking will not be available till Thursday. Only very few hotels are opened in Pampa and Sannidhanam. Annadanam will be arranged at Pampa, Sannidhanam and Nilakkal from Tuesday onwards.