The five-day monthly rituals at the Ayyappa temple began on the first day in the Malayalam month of Kumbhom on Friday. Melsanthi A.K. Sudheer Namboodiri opened the sanctum sanctorum and the rituals began with Tantri Kandararu Maheswararu Mohanararu performing the Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homom in the morning. Hundreds of devotees thronged the Sannidhanam to offer prayers. N. Vasu, Travancore Devaswom Board president, and K.S. Hari, board member, are camping at Sabarimala.
Laksharchana was performed at the temple on Friday. The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, performed the Brahmakalasapuja at the Namaskara Mandapam in the morning. The Kalabhapuja in connection with the Kalabhabhishekom was also performed at the Namaskara Mandapam.
The golden urns carrying the Brahmakalasom (holy water) and Kalabhom (sandal paste) were taken out in a procession, with the accompaniments of the traditional temple percussion to the sanctum sanctorum for the Abhishekom to the deity prior to the Utchapuja. The Tantri performed the Brahmakalasabhishekom and Kalabhabhishekom at the Ayyappa temple. The sandal paste offered to the deity was distributed among the devotees as prasadom.
Padipuja, Pushpabhishekom, and Udayasthamanapuja were the other rituals performed at the Ayyappa shrine on Friday. The temple will be closed after the Athazhapuja on February 18 evening, marking the culmination of the five-day rituals in the month of Kumbhom.