The Sabarimala temple opened on Tuesday evening for the five-day monthly rituals in the Malayalam month of Kumbhom amid reports of a possible tension at the shrine.

Thantri (Chief Priest) Kandaru Rajeevaru and head Priest VN Vasudevan Namboothiri opened the temple doors at 5 pm on Tuesday and performed the rituals inside the sanctum sanctorum as well as on the holy 18 steps.

The temple will close after the five-day puja at 10 pm on 17 February.

The temple was opened amid reports of a possibility of tension at the shrine as a few women groups are getting ready to trek the hill shrine.

The police have made elaborate security arrangements at Sabarimala and along the Elavumkal-Nilackal Pampa route.

Special cell SP V Ajith will be in charge of the security at the Sannidhanam for the five days. SP(telecommunications) H Manjunath will be in charge at Pampa, while Kollam district police chief PK Madu will be in charge at Nilakkal.

Two Deputy Superintendents and four Circle Inspectors would be posted at these three places to assist the SPs there.

With the Supreme Court yet to decide on the petitions seeking review of its earlier verdict permitting the entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala, police are anticipating tense situation as there are reports that a few women
groups would try to make darshan at the shrine during the monthly puja period.

Two young women Bindu and Kanakadurga had entered the hill shrine on 2 January during the Makaravilkku season leading to a huge protest.

The temple was shut for an hour for “purification rituals” after the two women entered the premises and had a darshan.