In Kerala, the holy hilly shrine of Sabarimala was opened today for Mandalam and Makaravilakku Pilgrimage.
The outgoing Head Priest of the shrine V. K. Jayaraj Potti opened the shrine as Tantri Kandararu Mahesh Mohanaru presided over the ceremonies.
The Head Priest walked down the holy eighteen steps of the shrine and ceremonially ignited the sacred fireplace ‘Aazhi’.
Later, the new Head Priest of the Sabarimala N. Parameswaran Namboothiri and Malikappuram Head Priest Shambhu Namboothiri took over.
Special Commissioner and Kollam District Judge M. Manoj was present during the ceremony.
The pilgrim season at the hilly shrine will begin on the first of Malayalam month of Vrishchikam tomorrow. The Mandala Pooja Festival at the shrine will be held till 26th of December.
Afterwards, the holy shrine will be opened for the Makaravilakku festival on 30th of December.
The Makaravilakku festival will be held from 30th of December to 20th of January. Pilgrims are allowed to enter Sabarimala for Darshan till 19th of January. The Mandala Pooja after the deity wearing the golden attire ‘Thanka Anki’ will be held on 26th of December. On the Makaravilakku day (14th January) at 6.30 p.m., ‘Deeparadhana’ with the deity adorned with ‘Thiruvabaranam’, will be held.