Nellore: Chief priest (thantri) of Sri Ayyappa Swamy temple in Nellore performed special rituals on Monday to commence works on building the holy 18 steps at the shrine, just as it is done at the Sabarimala temple.
Comparing the temple with the body of the deity, chief priest, Hari Namboodri said that removal of old steps is similar to detaching a part of the body and said that the rituals were aimed at soothing the pain and to seek the blessings of the Lord for the exercise.
Temple priests Subhramanya Namboodri and Ramachandra Bhatt assisted the chief priest in carrying out the rituals.
According to temple committee office bearers P.T. Ranga Rajan and Seshagiri Rao, a rice miller, Piduru Kishore Reddy and one Dr B. Narasimha Reddy, along with a few other donors, had come forward to spend for the construction of the 18 steps.
Apart from the devotees, former legislator M. Sree-dharkrishna Reddy, YSRC leader Srikanth Reddy and members of the temple committee were present.