Road clearing works on the nearly 15 km stretch of forest between Kumily and Mangaladevi temple, preparing for the famous Chitrapournamy festival on April 28, have been completed.

The Kannaki temple that stands inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) bordering Tamil Nadu opens only once in a year on the Chitrapournami day and a large number of devotees from Kerala and Tamil Nadu visit the temple on the occasion.

Idukki Sub-Collector Ajithkumar attended a top-level meeting of officials of both the States held at Kumily recently to review the steps to be taken in connection with the temple festival. He told The Hindu that a meeting will be held on Tuesday to decide the taxi and trip jeep fares from Kumily to the temple. Last year, jeeps charged Rs. 40 per person for the trip to the temple and Rs. 30 for the return journey.

Mr. Ajithkumar said that in the meeting, it has been decided to arrange for medical units on the temple premise and at Kumily. The officials of the district administration would make a visit to the road cleared by the forest department, he said, and added that no plastic would be allowed in the forest. The trip from Kumily will be allowed till 2.30 p.m. and the devotees have to make the return journey at 5 p.m. The temple will open at 6 a.m.

Expecting a large number of devotees on Chitrapournami day, arrangements are being made by the Kannaki Trust to distribute food packets to 20,000 devotees on the temple premises. The Forest Department will arrange for water for pilgrims and a police team under Kattappana DySP A.C.Thomas will control the traffic and security. Vehicles and devotees on foot will be allowed entry inside the reserve only after a security check.

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