The 10-day annual Alpasi festival of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, scheduled to commence from October 15, has been deferred as 10 persons, including the chief priest and joint chief priest of the iconic temple in the capital, have been infected by SARS-CoV- 2.Devotees are not being allowed from October 9 after the chief priest, joint chief priest and support staff of the temple tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday evening. Only the chief priest and the Tantri have the right to perform poojas in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Since Friday, Tantri Tharanallur Satheesan Namboodiripad is performing the poojas in the temple. The decision to defer the festival was taken as the Tantri opined that it will be difficult to go ahead with the festival in the absence of chief priest, joint chief priest and other priests.
The festivals of Thiruvallam Parasurama temple, Vaduvathu Mahavishnu temple, Cheriya Udeswaram temple and Arakathu Devi temple in the capital held along with the Alpasi festival will have to be postponed as the idols of the four temples are taken jointly for the arat.
The temple authorities will decide on the new dates for the Alpasi festival in consultation with the Tantri. The authorities are hopeful of opening the temple for devotees from October 16, one day before the idols of Goddess Saraswati from Padmanabhapuram Thevarakkett, the idol of Kumaraswamy from Velimalai Murugan temple and the idol of Munnuttinanga from Sthanumalayan temple in Suchindram reaches the Navarathri mandapam in front of the temple for the 10-day Navaratri celebrations.
The 10-day Painkuni festival, scheduled from March 30 and deferred due to the spurt in COVID-19, was held from September 10 in adherence with the protocol norms.