The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple will remain closed for four hours during the solar eclipse on 26 December 2019. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple will remain closed from 7.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. on Thursday.
Devaswom executive officer Rajendra Prasad said the decision had been taken on the directive of Tantri (chief priest) Kandararu Maheswarau Mohanararu.
According to him, the Tantri had apprised the devaswom authority that keeping the temple open during the solar eclipse was not appropriate and the puja timings at the Ayyappa temple for Tuesday had been revised accordingly.
The temple will be opened at 3 a.m. and will be closed after the Ashtabhishekom, Neyyabhishekom and Ushapuja at 7.30 a.m. The sanctum sanctorum will be reopened after the solar eclipse at 11.30 a.m. The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, will perform the purification rites. The Nivedyom (offering) for the presiding deity will be prepared only after the eclipse.
The offering of ghee to the deity, Neyyabhishekom, would be performed for some more time after 11.30 a.m., if needed, the executive officer said.
The sanctum sanctorum of various other temples attached to the Travancore Devaswom Board, including that of Pampa Ganapati Temple and Malikappuram Devi Temple, too will follow the same custom during the eclipse.