New head priest selected for Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala

Sabarimala coin counting
Notes and coins worth Rs 119 crore have reportedly been counted so far and coins worth Rs 15–20 crore are left

AK Sudheer Namboodiri of Areekkara Mana at Tirunavaya in Malappuram district was on Saturday (August 17) selected as the next melsanthi (head priest) of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple for a period of one year starting from November 17.

The selection of the head priest was through a draw of lots held at the temple sopanam. Meanwhile, MS Parameswaran Namboodiri from Aluva has been selected as the head priest for the Malikappuram Devi Temple in Sabarimala for the same period.

The newly-selected head priests would assume charge on the eve of the 41-day mandalam pilgrim season beginning on November 16. “The lot was drawn by the youngest member of the Pandalam royal family Madhav K Varma,” the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) said in a press release.

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The temple was opened on Friday (August 16) evening for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Chingom which began on Saturday. There were no rituals on Friday.

The TDB said that the incumbent head priest VN Vasudevan Namboodiri performed Ashtadravya Maha Ganapathi homam and other rituals. The temple would close after the rituals on the evening of August 21.