- Sabarimala Ayyappa reopened today for the Atta Chithira puja.
- The devotees will be allowed only on the basis of the virtual booking system.
- The health department will also set up a Covid-19 testing centre at Nilakkal.
Kerela: The Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district reopened for the Chithira Aattathirunal festival and due to the Covid-19 norms in place; devotees will be required to pre-book their slot of visit. Kerala Devaswom minister K Radhakrishnan said that all arrangements for the annual Sabarimala pilgrimage would be completed in a time-bound manner. “Over 10 lakh devotees have already registered for the pilgrimage this time,” K Radhakrishnan informed.
It is also mandatory for devotees arriving at the temple to be double vaccinated against coronavirus disease. Those who are not yet vaccinated or have been partially vaccinated will be asked to show a negative RT-PCR report for the Covid-19 test. The hill-top shrine will be closed by 9 PM after the Harivarasanam rituals. After the monthly puja, the Sabarimala temple will reopen on November 15th for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, only 25,000 devotees will be allowed to visit the shrine per day during the festival.
A high-level evaluation meeting has also been held by the officials to take stock of the arrangements in the districts of Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Idukki. The health department will also set up a Covid-19 testing centre at Nilakkal and there will be 5 emergency medical centres for immediate assistance to devotees. The administration has also made arrangements for as many as 470 buses of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) that would be available for pilgrims this year.