Pathanamthitta: The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala will be opened on Wednesday, a day ahead of commencement of two-month long pilgrimage season.
The annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season begins on November 17.
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple will be opened at 5 PM on November 16 in the presence of chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevaru by outgoing head priest N Parameswaran Namboothiri.
Later, newly selected head priests of Lord Ayyappa and Malikappuram temples will take over for performing poojas for the next one-year period.
The 41-day Mandala puja festival will conclude on December 27.
The temple will be opened again on December 30 for the Makaravilakku pilgrimage on January 14, 2023. The shrine will be closed on January 20, concluding the pilgrim season.
Officials said thousands of devotees are expected to participate this year as it is the first pilgrim season after lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions which were in place during the last two years.
Elaborate security arrangements are in place for the smooth conduct of the festival, they said.