THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, October 7, 2012 (The Hindu): Head priests (Melsanthi) of the Ayyappa temple and Malikappuram Devi temple, both in Sabarimala, will be selected through draw of lots to be held on October 17, the first day of the Malayalam month of Thulam.
For this, the Travancore Devaswom Board has drawn up a shortlist of nine priests for the post of the Melsanthi for the Ayyappa temple and 10 for that of the Malikappuram Devi temple. According to TDB sources, the short-listing of eligible priests from among the applicants was made on the basis of a personal interview.
The Special Commissioner appointed by the Kerala High Court will personally supervise the entire proceedings to be held at the sanctum sanctorum at Sabarimala temple and announce the results there itself. Both the newly selected Melsanthis will assume charge on the eve of the 41-day Mandalam pilgrimage season in the Malayalam month of Vrischikom. The TDB has been selecting head priests for Sabarimala shrines through draw of lots since 1970, when large scale corruption was alleged in the conventional selection process.