41-day Mandalam festival begins on Monday 16th November ; pilgrims start arriving at Pampa.
The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala will be opened on Sunday afternoon for the two-month annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage that begins on Monday, the first day in the month of Vrishcikam in the Malayalam calendar.
Now itself pilgrims from different parts of south India has started arrriving at base pampa.
Outgoing Melsanthi, P.N. Narayanan Namboodiri, would open the sanctum sanctorum at 5.30 p.m. on Sunday.
The ritualistic installation of E.N. Krishnadas Namboodiri of Paanjal Ezhikode Mana as the new Sabarimala Melsanthi would be celebrated at the temple sopanam at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
S. Kesavan Namboodiri of Mavelikkara would be installed as the new Melsanthi at the Malikappuram Devi temple.
The Tantri, Kandararu Rajeevararu, would lead both the installation ceremonies.
However, the temple rituals would begin only with the Tantri performing the Ashtadravya Ganapati Homam on Monday morning.
The 41-day Mandalam festival would conclude on December 27, and the Mandalapuja would be performed at the temple prior to the Utchapuja.
The temple would be closed after the Athazhapuja in the evening, marking the culmination of the Mandalam pilgrimage of this year.
The temple would reopen for the Makaravilakku festival on December 30 2014 afternoon. The Makaravilakku festival would be celebrated on January 14 2015.
The ceremonial procession carrying Thiruvabharanam, sacred attire, to adorn the presiding deity at Sabarimala prior to the Deeparadhana on the Makaravilakku day would set off from Pandalam Valiyakoickal Sastha temple in a ceremonial procession on January 12.
The temple would be closed after the Athazhapuja on January 19 evening, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage.