There is a sense of anxiety in and around Sabarimala as the Lord Ayyappa shrine is all set to reopen on Tuesday for monthly worship, after witnessing frenzied protests during the recently concluded annual pilgrim season over the entry of young women.
The hilltop temple would be opened for five days till February 17 for the monthly pujas during the Malayalam month of Kumbam, temple authorities said Monday.
Several special rituals including 'kalabhabhishekam', 'sahasrakalasam' and 'laksharchana' would be performed during the five days at the shrine, the 'sanctum sanctorum' of which would be thrown open by chief priest Vasudevan Nampoothiri Tuesday evening.
Tantri (head priest) Kandararu Rajeevaru would also be present during the time of pujas, they said.
As the shrine is set to open, state police has stepped up vigil in and around Sabarimala in view of possible protests by Sangh outfits against the entry of women, belonging to the traditionally barred age group.
The police said certain restrictions had already been imposed in areas from Nilackal, the base camp to Sannidhanam (temple complex) to ensure smooth darshan for devotees.