Sabarimala: Ahead of the upcoming pilgrim season, Balamurali Namboodiri of Edamana Illam was on Tuesday selected as the 'melsanthi' (head priest) of the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.
T K Eswaran Namboodiri of Attukal was selected as the head priest of the adjoining Malikappuram Devi temple.
Both the priests would continue for one year after taking over on November 16, when the two-month long pilgrim season of the hill shrine begins.
The priests, who will have to stay at the hill shrine for the entire year, were chosen through a draw of lots from a list of candidates shortlisted by Travancore Deveswom Board (TDB).
The list was prepared by interviewing applicants by TDB in the presence of scholars including the traditional high priest of the temple.
Additional Chief Secretary and Sabarimala co-ordinator K Jayakumar, TDB president M Rajagopalan Nair and high priest Kantararu Maheswaru were among those present for the selection of priests.
Over 30 million devotees visit the shrine a year during the pilgrimage season that will end by mid-January.