New melsanthis for Sabarimala, Malikappuram
P N Narayanan Nampoothiri, 42, of Panagattampalli Mana, Nellikuzhi, Thrikkariyur in Kothamangalam was selected as the new melsanthi of the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple on Thursday, P M Manoj, 37, of Polpakkara Madom, Edappal, in Malappuram, will be the new melsanthi of the Malikappuram Devi Temple.
The selection of the new head priests, done by draw of lots, was from among the shortlisted 16 aspirants. Four-year-old Vyas J Varma, of Pandalam palace, pulled out the name of the new melsanthi in a ceremony conducted in front of the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ayyappa Temple at 8 am after Usha pooja. The new melsanthi selection was held under the overall supervision of Sabarimala special commissioner K Babu.
Travancore Devaswom Board president M P Govindan Nair, members Subhash Vasu and P K Kumaran, Devaswom Commissioner P Venugopal, Devaswom secretary P K Balachandran and Sabarimala exective officer Mohandas were present on the occasion.
Narayanan Nampoothiri is the tenth rank-holder in the interview held for the post of the Sabarimala melsanthi in Thiruvananthapuram on October 8 and 9. Narayanan Nampoothiri has been the melsanthi of the Perumbavoor Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, administered by the TDB, for the last four years.
The name of P M Manoj, who was the melsanthi of Perumbarambu Lord Siva Temple near Edappal, a temple under the Malabar Devaswom Board, was selected in the draw-of-lots by Gouthami S Varma. For the last four years, Manoj has been working with the Sabarimala melsanthi during the two-month pilgrimage season and monthly pooja days. The new melsanthi of Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples will take charge on November 16, the first day of the Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.