Pinarayi Vijayan chairs TDB meeting, Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season in November
The State government would allow up to 25,000 visitors per day to Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple when the hilltop shrine opens for the annual Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season in mid-November.
Earlier, the government had restricted pilgrim movement to the temple and limited the number of worshippers to less than 1000 per day because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Sabarimala temple also attracts devotees from across the country and abroad, including from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
After chairing a top-level meeting to evaluate the arrangement for Sabarimala pilgrimage here on Thursday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the virtual queue system for booking darshan at the temple in advance would continue.
Pilgrims would have to register their name, address and other particulars on the police department run portal ahead of their visit. They could reserve their preferred time of darshan via the portal.
Pilgrims registered on the portal would have to furnish proof of their identity on arrival at the police check-post at the Nilackal base camp.
Law enforcers would allow private vehicles only till Nilackal, beyond which pilgrims would have to take the KSRTC shuttle service to Pamba.
The government has allowed darshan to pilgrims below the age of 10 and above the age of 65. The police would allow entry only to pilgrims who provide proof of two doses of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent RT-PCR negative certificate.
Mr. Vijayan asked the Travancore Devaswom Board to make necessary arrangements to avoid a rush for sacraments, including consecrated ghee. The TDB would not allow any pilgrim to stay over at Sannidhanam or overcrowding.
The government has closed the traditional forest trekking path to Sabarimala via Erumeli and Pulmedu. Forest and police would patrol the trial, which the government has declared off-limits for pilgrims and civilians.
The TDB has allowed pilgrims to take a dip in Pamba Triveni. Mr. Vijayan also asked various departments to ensure enough toilets and cloakroom facilities on the route to Sabarimala, including at bus stands, outside railway terminals and other stopovers.
He asked the authorities to recruit an army of well-paid public health workers to keep Sabarimala and adjoining localities clean and sanitised.
Mr. Vijayan also called for a fire and structural safety audit of buildings, hotels and commercial establishments on the Sabarimala route. He said commercial facilities should install smoke detectors and fire alarms mandatorily.
The CM counselled pilgrims to seek medical clearance before setting out to Sabarimala. He said that people with chronic conditions and those who recovered from COVID-19 recently should get a doctor’s permission to undertake the 6 km ascend to Sannidhanam from Pampa.
The Health Department would position emergency medical teams equipped to treat cardiac events and other health issues on the
Devasom Minister K. Radhakrishnan, Health Minister Veena George, Forest Minister A. K. Saseendran, Transport Minister Antony Raju, Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine, Government Chief Whip N. Jayaraj, TDB chairperson, N. Vasu, Chief Secretary V. P. Joy State Police Chief Anil Kant were among those who attended the close door conference.
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