On Friday, the sandbanks of the Periyar at Aluva along the famed Lord Shiva Temple were brimming with devotees who came to pay obeisance to their ancestors on the occasion of Mahasivarathri.

The number of devotees kept surging with new moon setting in from Friday afternoon. The rush is expected to continue till Saturday afternoon as new moon day will last till then.

The devotees offered balitharpan from the balitharas arranged by the Devaswom Board on the banks and offered prayers at the Shiva Temple.

District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam conducted a surprise inspection at 1.30 a.m. to take stock of the arrangements. Though free movement through the temporary iron bridge was set to end on Friday afternoon, authorities were forced to continue it in the face of stiff protest by activists of youth wings of political parties.

The bridge would be dismantled only after four weeks as a trade fare is under way at Manappuram. The protestors have made it clear that any attempt to collect toll will be stopped.