In a big relief for devotees, the doors of the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple will reopen today at 5 pm for ‘Thula Masam’ puja in the Malayalam month of Thulam. However, the devotees will be allowed to enter the temple from Sunday morning till the night of October 21, the Travancore Devaswom Board said.
The doors of the sanctum sanctorum will be opened at 5 pm by chief priest VK Jayaraj Potti and lamps will be lit. Subsequently, the Upadevata temple would be opened and a lamp would be lit there also. A fire would be lit in front of the 18th step of the shrine. However, prayers will begin on Sunday.
Post ‘Usha Puja’ rituals on Sunday, the process to select the next chief priest of the Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples will be held. They will hold a tenure of one year. There are nine candidates on the shortlist for the post of Sabarimala chief priest.
Latest SOPs for devotees
Those who have completed taking both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed direct entry.
Devotees will either have to produce their double dose vaccination certificate or an RT-PCR negative certificate.
A negative RT-PCR report has to be obtained within 72 hours before entering the temple premises.
The objective behind the move is to control crowds in the backdrop of Kerala continuing to report over 7,000 cases a day.
Devotees will be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple between October 17 and October 21.
Devotees can enter the Sabarimala temple only through the state police’s virtual queue booking system.