The rush of devotees continued at Sabarimala as thousands of pilgrims trekked the holy hills, braving the incessant downpour in the forests on Sunday.
Many pilgrims climbed the Neelimala and Appachimedu hills on the Pampa-Sannidhanam trekking path covering the Irumudikkettu on their head with plastic sheets as rain shield.
Pilgrims had to wait in long-winding queues for offering the ritualistic Neyyabhishekom to the presiding deity in the forenoon.
The rain-drenched Swami Ayyappan Road has been badly damaged along several stretches due to frequenting of tractors. Lack of roofed shelters at the Sannidhanam has put the pilgrims much hardship due to shortage of shelters at the Sannidhanam. Travancore Devaswom Board has demolished as many as 19 pilgrim shelters at Paandithavalom to construct a large roofed shelter there, besides providing more open space for the pilgrims to take rest. However, the board could not materialise the project before the beginning of the pilgrim season,leaving the pilgrims at the receiving end.
Aravana stock crossed 17 lakh cans
The Executive Officer, M.Sathishkumar, said the stock of Aravana at the devaswom store as on Sunday morning was 17 lakh cans (250 ml).
He said the Appam stock as on Sunday was 3.5 lakh packets.
The Health department has arranged as many 17 ambulances in the service of pilgrims at Pampa and Nilackal.
ABASS opens free automobile workshop
The Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom has opened a free automobile workshop in association with TVS Motors Limited at the Nilackal base camp on Sunday.
The ABASS president, Thennala Balakrishna Pillai, inaugurated the workshop with a mobile unit at a simple held at the Nilackal base camp on Sunday.
The Sanghom has also deployed a well-equipped stretcher unit headed by its captain Thanchavur Damodaran.
The volunteers attached to the stretcher unit have been stationed at Sannidhanam, Pampa, Sabaripeedhom, Saramkuthi, Appachimedu and at Neelimala, extending a helping hand to the pilgrims as and when needed, said Mr Damodaran.