Pathanamthitta, Nov 16 (UNI) The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was opened today for the 41-day-long 'Mandalam' festival.
Outgoing Melsanthi E Eswaran Nampoothiri opened the sanctum sanctorum in the presence of Tantri Kantararu Maheswaru and lighted the ceremonial lamps. After this the Melsanthi went down the Eighteen Sacred steps and kindled the 'Azhi.' The 'Malikappuram Devi temple' was also opened by Melsanthi S Madhusoodanan Potti simultaneously. Hundreds of devotees who thronged the 'Sannidhanam' chanted Sarana mantras reverberating the holy hills.
Later, the new Melsanthi T K Krishnan Nampoothiri was initiated by Tantri Kantararu Maheswaru. The Tantri who performed 'Kalasapooja' poured holy water on the Melsanthi at the Sanctum sanctorum and whispered the 'Moola Mantra' of Ayyappa into his ears.
The initiation of new Melsanthi of 'Malikappuram Devi Temple' M N Krishinan Nampoothiri was also held at Malikappuram.
Regular 'Poojas' would begin from tomorrow with a 'Ganapathi Homam.' The 'Neyyabhishekam' would begin from 0430 hrs. 'Mandala Pooja' falls on December 27.
Travancore Devaswom Board President C K Guptan, Board Members P Narayanan and E Sumathykkutty Amma, Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court M Rajendran Nair, Devaswam Secretary V K Sachidanandan were present on the occasion.