Pathanamthitta: Sabarimala temple doors opened for the 70-day-long mandala makaravilakku (annual pilgrimage season) at 5 PM today. The sanctum sanctorum was opened by temple thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru and chief priest AV Unnikrishnan Namboothiri.

The priest will light the ‘neyvilakku’ meaning lamp lit by ghee. This ritual is performed to wake up Lord Ayappa from his ‘yoga nidra’ (sleep).

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With this festival, the newly-elected priest, VN Vasudevan Namboothiri, who was earlier the priest of Jalahalli Ayyappa Temple in Bengaluru, will resume his duties. After today's worship, the current chief priest Unnikrishnan Namboothiri will hand over the keys of the sanctum sanctorum to Vasudevan Namboothiri.

Meanwhile, MN Narayanan Namboothiri of Alappuzha has taken charge as Malikappuram chief priest. The Malikappuram temple is located near the Sabarimala main temple. Malikappurathamma is the godess, who is  said to have dedicated herself to Ayyappa.

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Tomorrow, the new priests will open the doors of the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala and Malikapuram temple.

Devaswom Board on buying more time

The Travcancore Devaswom Board held discussions today about filing a petition with the Supreme Court to seek more time to implement the ruling allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple.

After working through legal matters, the Board has decided to approach the apex court on Monday.

The Board has also said that they need to work on providing basic amenities to women even if they have to be allowed inside, as per the Supreme Court's order.

Trupti in Kerala: Police book cases against 250

Trupti Desai, who wanted to enter Sabarimala temple, was stopped at the Kochi airport's terminal due to intensified protests against her. Cases have been filed against at least 250 people protesting outside the airport.

Latest reports state that Trupti, after waiting for hours inside the terminal and being spoken to by the Kerala government officials who tried to convince her to return to Pune, has now decided to go back. "The police is not ready to give me any security," she said.