The incessant rains in the forests have put the pilgrims coming from different parts of South India to much hardships at the famous pilgrimage centre of Sabarimala on Saturday too.
The river Pampa turned swollen with the heavy inflow from the catchment areas in the upstream forest interiors.
Police have issued warning notice to pilgrims as well as shopkeepers at the Pampa Manalpuram on Friday evening against a possible flash flood in the event of land slides taking place in the interior forest reaches. No vehicle was permitted to park at the parking lots on the river banks at the Pampa-Triveni on Friday and Saturday.
Pilgrims trekked the holy hills of Neelimala and Appachimedu, after the customary holy dip in Pampa (Pampa-snanom), braving the downpour.
The police had resorted to periodically blocking the pilgrims at Pampa, Sabaripeedhom, Marakkoottom and Saramkuthy when their inflow became unmanageable from the afternoon. The pilgrims had little option but to wait in the rains with a rain-drenched sacred bundle, ‘Irumudikkeetu’, inside the thickly packed iron barricades for hours-together. Many have tried to shield their ‘Irumudikkettu’ from the rain by covering it with plastic sheets.
The police personnel on duty at the Sannidhanam as well as on the trekking path too were put to much hardship while controlling the crowd in the heavy downpour.
Though there was a respite in the rain on Saturday afternoon, pilgrims’ plight continued at Sabarimala as the resting places and surroundings remained wet and waterlogged. The staff on duty, especially police personnel, sanitation workers and the Ayyappa Seva Sanghom volunteers too were put to a difficult situation owing to the heavy rush and untimely rain.
Many pilgrims were seen stranded at the Sannidhanam owing to shortage of sufficient shelters as almost all pilgrim shelters at Sabarimala have turned full by Friday afternoon itself.
Accumulation of waste and stench emanating from it was another problem at Sabarimala as the waste removal was too was badly affected due to the incessant rains.