B'luru temple priest picked for Sabarimala

B'luru temple priest picked for Sabarimala
 S E Sankaran Nampoothiri, a priest working in Bengaluru, has been appointed the “Melsanthi” (head priest) of the Sabarimala Sree Ayyappa Temple in Kerala after a draw of lots.

Along with him, E S Unnikrishnan from Thekkumkara in Thrissur district will be the new Melsanthi at the Malikappuram Devi temple. The lots were drawn after the Usha Pooja, in the presence of senior officials of the Travancore Devaswom Board. Both priests will take charge on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (November 17).

A member of the Karakkatt Illam in Ayarkunnam in Kottayam district, Nampoothiri is now serving as the Melsanthi of the Jalahalli Sree Aiyappan Temple in Bengaluru for the last four years. His name has been in the list of nominations for the head priest at Sabarimala for the last 12 years.

 However, he had to wait to get a chance. Nampoothiri, whose joy knew no bounds on his elevation, said his family had been praying for his chance to serve the Lord. He has a BA degree in Malayalam and his wife Lata works as a teacher in Kerala. He has two sons.

According to S Sivarajan, president, Jalahalli Sree Aiyappan Temple, Nampoothiri would be taking charge at the temple in Sabarimala on November 17. “He will carry the Irumudi from here on November 15 and take charge after that,” he added.

Nampoothiri has served in many parts of the country. About 18 years ago, he was appointed the head priest at Subramanya temple in Thiruvanchoor, Kottayam and served there for 11 years. Later, Nampoothiri had served for three years at Subramanya Swamy temple at Velloor in Pampady. Following this, he came to Bengaluru for three years and then headed to Gujarat for a year in between.

For the post of head priest at the Sabarimala Temple, 14 applicants were picked from a total of 83 following interviews in September and were later shortlisted for the draw of lots. For the Malikappuram Melsanthi post, five were shortlisted from 58 applicants.

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