Sabarimala temple opens for five-day monthly pooja
Sabarimala: The popular Lord Ayyappa temple here opened for the five-day monthly poojas on Tuesday evening to mark the Malayalam month 'Idavam'.
Chief priest V N Vasudevan Namboothiri opened the sanctum sanctorum of the hill shrine in the presence of 'tantri' Kandararu Rajeevaru.
Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) President A Padmakumar, board member K P Sankardas, Sabarimala Special Commissioner and district judge Manoj were among those present when the temple was opened.
A large number of Lord Ayyappa devotees climbed the sacred 18 steps and offered prayers on the initial day, a TDB release said.
There was no special poojas on Tuesday and the shrine would witness customary pujas and rituals, including 'neyyabhishekam', 'kalabhabhishekam' and 'padi puja' in the coming days, the release added.
After the five-day poojas, the shrine would be closed on May 19.
Tight security in place, 825 policemen deployed
Like the last pilgrimage season, tight police security has been put in place. Security arrangements placed by police following the protest over women entry will continue at Nilakkal and Pampa. At the same time, in the wake of terror attack in Sri Lanka, police beefed up security and surveillance at Sannidhanam and premises.
825 policemen under three officials in SP rank are deployed for the security at Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilakkal.
Protest over SC verdict allowing entry for women
Kerala had witnessed massive protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple since the LDF government decided to implement the September 28 apex court order allowing women of all age groups to enter the sabarimala lord ayyappa shrine.
On September 28 last year, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of
menstrual age into the shrine.
(With added inputs from PTI)