THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Marking the beginning of a pilgrim season, scaled-down due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Sabarimala Temple opened for the annual Mandalakala-Makaravillakku festival on Sunday (November 15) evening.
Devotees will be allowed to visit the temple from Monday (November 16) morning onwards, while the Mandalapooja will be performed on December 26.
Doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum was opened by Melshanti (main priest) AK Sudheer Namboothiri who lit the lamps at 5 pm in the presence of Chief Priest Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru.
The newly elected Sabarimala Melsanthi VK Jayaraj Potti and Malikkapuram Melsanthi MN Reji Kumar were invited to climb the holy 18 steps by the outgoing main priest.
The number of visitors were limited to 1,000 per day and Travancore Devaswom Board had earlier announced that the number of pilgrims visiting the temple on Mandavilakku and Makaravilakku days will be increased to 5,000.
“We’ve limited the number of pilgrims to 1,000 per day during the initial days of the week. On weekends 2, 000 will be allowed. On Sabarimala Mandavilakku and Makaravilakku days, the number of pilgrims to be increased to 5,000,” the board said.
The Mandala festival season is till December 26 and after closed temple will open on December 30 for the Makaravilakku festival. Makaravilakku is on January 14, 2021.