The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), Kerala on Thursday said that the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple will open on October 16 for 'Thula masam' (October 16th - November 15th) poojas and on the next day a draw of lots would be held to select its next Head Priest. Prior to puja, the temple would be opened and the lamps would be lit by the present Head priest V K Jayaraj Potti in the presence of the Thanthri Kandararu Mahesh Mohanaru, a release issued by the Board said.
The Upadevata temple would also be opened and a lamp would be lit there also. A fire would also be lit in front of the eighteenth step of the path leading to the shrine, it said. It also said that there would be no poojas on the day the temple is opened. The Devaswam Board also said, that Head Priests for Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples would be selected via draw of lots on October 17 after the 'Ushapoojas' get over. The Board further said that devotees will be permitted to enter Sabarimala from October 17 to 21 and entry would be permitted only through virtual queue booking.
The temple would be closed on October 21 and then reopen on November 2 as part of the 'Chithira Attavishesham'. Thereafter, on November 3 the temple would be shut again and reopen on November 15 for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival.