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Melshanthi or Chief Priest
Unlike the tantri, the chief priest is , selected every year. And one gets only one ( chance in his life. Only those brahmins with' the deep knowledge of mantras and who satisfy many other criteria can apply for the post. The Devaswom Board holds the interview after a preliminary screening. The final selection is through draw of lots. The names of those selected from the interview are put in an urn. Title chief priest is written on a piece of paper and is deposited in I another urn containing similar number pieces. The tantri performs certain poojas and the urns! are brought out of the sanctum sanatorium. Ai young devotee on pilgrimage is invited to draw the lots. He'll have to pick up one piece from each urn. When the name of a priest anD the paper scribbled chief priest are drawn together, that person is appointed to the pos t for a period of one year.

P N Narayanan Namboodiri was Friday selected as the new melsanthi (head priest) of the famous Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

He is a native of Thrikkariyoor at Kothamangalam in Ernakulam.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which administers the hill shrine, also selected P M Manoj, from Edappal in Malappuram, as head priest of Malikappuram Devi temple in Sabarimala.

T.M.Unnikrishnan Namboothiri

M.E Manu kumar