Rain recedes, Sabarimala pilgrimage returns to normalcy

05:01 PM Nov 20, 2021 | PTI |

Though heavy rains lashed several parts of Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district, posing a threat to Sabarimala pilgrimage last night, devotees were permitted to trek the holy hills again in batches on Saturday, even as two shutters of the Pamba dam were raised by the authorities after its water level rose.


The district administration of Pathanamthitta had issued an order on Friday, prohibiting Saturday’s pilgrimage to the famous Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala in the wake of continuous rainfall and the rising water levels in major rivers, including Pamba.

Temple authorities here said on Saturday that as no major rains were reported here, especially in the areas of the hill temple, normalcy returned to Sabarimala today.

District Collector Divya S Iyer granted permission to allow the devotees stranded in Nilackal, following last night’s prohibition order, to trek to Sabarimala hills and offer prayers at the shrine in a phased manner ensuring their safety.

The decision was taken based on a discussion between Iyer, who is also the chairperson of the district disaster management authority, and Arjun Pandyan, the ADM of Sabarimala on the present conditions there, an official statement said.


The water level in the river Pamba and related dams would be monitored in regular intervals and the permission for ‘darshan’ would be based on that, it added. A Travancore Devaswom Board official said the pilgrimage resumed at 10.30 AM after the district administration lifted the ban.

”The rains have subdued in the region and pilgrimage is going on smoothly. Since the shrine was closed till 10.30 in the morning, the temple is currently witnessing heavy footfall. Around 20,000 people have booked for visiting the temple today alone,” he told PTI.

Meanwhile, authorities urged those living on the banks of rivers, Sabarimala devotees and the general public to take necessary precaution in the wake of the raising of two shutters of the Pamba dam.

The released water is expected to reach the ”Pamba Triveni’, part of the Sabarimala pilgrimage, after six hours, they said and urged people living in low lying areas to shift to safer places.

Braving inclement weather conditions and the COVID-19 situation, hundreds of devotees have been trekking the hills to offer prayers at the Ayyappa temple since it opened on November 16 for the two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.

Like the previous year, the devotees are being allowed through a virtual queue system this time also as part of efforts to regulate the flow of pilgrims in view of the pandemic and heavy rains.


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