Sabarimala reopens for monthly 'pujas' amid heavy security

The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala re-opened on Tuesday for five-day monthly 'pujas' under a heavy security blanket as hundreds of police personnel were deployed in and around the hill shrine in view of possible protest from right-wing activists, opposing entry of young women.

Despite security arrangements, a large number of devotees, including those from neighbouring states, turned up to offer prayers when the shrine was opened at 5 pm.

Chief priest Vasudevan Nampoothiri opened the sanctum sanctorum in the presence of 'tantri' (head priest) Kandararu Rajeevaru.

The temple would remain open for five days till February 17 for the monthly 'pujas' during the Malayalam month of 'Kumbam', temple authorities said.