Hindu Aikyavedi State general secretary, Kummanam Rajashekharan, has condemned the manifold increase in the ‘vazhipadu’ (ritual offering) rates that came into force at Sabarimala from the first day in the Malayalam month of Chingom.

In a statement issued here on Friday, Mr. Rajashekharan alleged that the hike in the rates was nothing short of denying opportunity for the ordinary devotees to conduct various offerings at the Lord Ayyappa Temple there.

He said the rate for Ganapati ‘homam’ had been increased to Rs. 301 from Rs. 61 and that of Bhagavathi-seva from Rs. 151 to Rs. 1500.

Similarly, the ‘ashtabhishekam’ had become highly expensive with the Travancore Devaswom Board increasing its rate from Rs. 750 to Rs. 3401, he alleged.

Mr. Rajashekharan said the rate hike for ‘pushpabhishekam’ from Rs. 1001 to Rs. 10,001 and that of ‘kalabhabhishekam’ from Rs. 1001 to Rs. 25,000 could never be justified.

The Hindu Aikyavedi leader also alleged that the rate for ‘sahasrakalasabhishekom’ had been fixed at Rs. 1.15 lakh, literally making it difficult for an ordinary devotee to make the offering.

He called upon the TDB authorities to withdraw the steep rate hike with immediate effect in the larger interests of Ayyappa devotees across the globe.

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