New chief priests for Sabarimala, Malikapuram temples

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Pathanamthitta, Oct 17 (UNI) N Vishnu Namboodiri, a native of Maruthamkuzhy in Thiruvananthapuram district will be the new chief priest of the famous Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.

In a draw of lots held in the presence of High Court special observer Justice A Ramachandran Nair today, N Sreekumara Sarma of Chengannur was elected as the new chief priest for the Malikapuram devi temple, situated near the famous hill shrine Sabarimala temple.

Seven-year-old Ravi Theja from Hyderabad, picked the slip from the lot containing the name of Mr Vishnu as chief priest of Sabarimala temple, while four-year-old Swathi of Chennai, picked the slip and Mr Sarma was selected as the Head priest of Malikapuram devi temple.

They were selected from a list of nine candidates in two groups.

However, a final decision regarding the appointment of the two chief priests would be taken only after examining the Vigilance report by the court.

The new chief priests would assume charge on the eve of Mandalam pilgrimage season beginning on November one.

Travancore Devaswom Board president C K Guptan, Board members P Narayanan, P R Sumathi Kuttiyamma, Devaswom Commissioner V G Nalinakshan Nair, were among those present during the draw of lots.

The draw of lots to select the priests was necessitated after the High Court stalled the appointment of chief priest following a complaint from Thantri Kanderaru Mahesware stating that some people with criminal background had been included in the list prepared by the Board.

UNI XR CGV SV HT1340

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