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Chief priest for Sabarimala selected

india Updated: Oct 17, 2008 14:55 IST

N Vishnu Namboodiri of Thekkadath Mana was on Friday chosen by lot as the 'melsanthi' (chief priest) of Sabarimala Ayyappa temple on Friday.

N Sreekumar of Thamaramangalam Illam was selected as the chief priest for the adjacent Malikappuram temple.

The postings of the priests, however, would be subject to the approval by the Kerala High Court where a petition challenging the shortlisting of panels for the selection is pending.

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the temple, had earlier shortlisted two panels, each containing nine persons, for the selection. The shortlisting was done based on interview conducted by TDB.

For the Sabarimala chief priest the lot was drawn by a school girl,Ravitha, from Hyderabad. The lot for the Malikappuram chief priest was taken by Swati from Chennai.

Kerala High Court had on Thursday allowed the Travancore Devaswom Board to conduct the draw of lots as that was done every year on the first of the Malayalam month of Thulam.

However, the appointment could be made only with the approval of the court.

Senior 'Tantri' (traditional high priest) of Sabarimala, Kandararu Maheswararu, has filed a petition in the High Court alleging that the panel shortlisted by TDB for selection of high priests included some persons with criminal background.