Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala witnessed heavy rush of devotees on Monday. The State-wide hartal called by the Left Democratic Front did not deter the pilgrims who trekked the Neelimala and Appachimedu hills braving heavy rain.
The devotees waited in queue for three to four hours to ascend the holy 18-steps (Pathinettampady) leading to the temple. The pilgrim flow was consistent from the early hours. It increased by 6 p.m. Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) member Subhash Vasu and Devaswom Commissioner P. Venugopal are camping at the Sannidhanam to oversee the arrangements.
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operated 167 services from its seasonal depot at Pampa to different parts of the State till 7 p.m. on Monday. Esther Yashica, KSRTC Special Officer at Pampa, said the corporation ran 410 chain services between Pampa and Nilackal on Monday.
An Excise team seized tobacco products, including cigarettes, beedis, and chewing tobacco, valued at Rs.50,000 in a surprise raid conducted at shops near the Sannidhanam.
A 32-year-old pilgrim, identified as P.V. Rajesh of Pottayil House at Olassa in Thrissur, died of cardiac arrest at the Sannidhanam on Monday morning. Ayyappa Seva Sanghom volunteers shifted the body to Pampa. The body was later taken to Thrissur.