A large number of devotees on Monday thronged the famed Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala as it opened for 10-day annual festivities and monthly 'poojas'.
Head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru presided over the rituals after the portals of the hill shrine were opened after a gap of nearly one month.
The routine purification ritual and dedication of the new gold-plated door of the sanctum sanctorum were held soon after the shrine opened at 5 pm, temple sources said.
The old door is being replaced as it had developed cracks.
The new holy door, made of quality teak wood, has been plated with at least four kilograms of gold after engraving and embossing it with copper.
A group of Sabarimala devotees, led by one Unni Namboothiri, bore the expenses of the new door as an offering to the presiding deity, they said.
(with news agency inputs)