The holy hillock of Sabarimala witnessed unprecedented rush on Monday and the police have resorted to block the pilgrims for two to three hours periodically as part of crowd control from the early morning hours.

The police as well as the Central forces have stepped up the screening process following reports of cracker bursts at four places near Marakktom and on the Swami Ayyappan Road during the past 24 hours.

Each pilgrim has to undergo the screening process before entering the Neelimala path and even the big size ‘Irumudikkettus’ (sacred bundles) were subjected to X-ray screening.

The Sannidhanam Special Officer and Pathanamthitta SP, Sanjaykumar, has inspected the trekking path following reports of cracker bursts and found nothing to panic about.

The police has tightened security at Sabarimala, Pampa and along the trekking path in the wake of the cracker bursts, leaving little scope for any mischief by miscreants at the pilgrim centre, the Special Officer said.

Bomb detection squad

Meanwhile, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad of the State police and the officials of Central Forces at Sabarimala have inspected the sites from where the sound of cracker bursts was heard.

The police have also collected pieces of burst crackers from Marakkoottom.

Heavy rush

The queue for darshan was extended beyond Sabaripeetom on the trekking path.

Reports from the Sannidhanam shows that pilgrims who entered the barricades at Marakoottom had to wait for upto 12 hours to reach the temple premises on Monday.

The National Disaster Response Force personnel were deployed at Sabaripeetom on the trekking path to regulate the pilgrim flow.

Mr. Depak Dev Menon, NDRF Commandant at Sannidhanam told The Hindu that Monday’s crowd was an unprecedented one.

The flow of Ayyappa devotees continued even on Monday evening, making the Nadappanthal at Pampa Ganapati Temple premises as well the Pampa Manalpuram overcrowded.

Thanka Anki procession

The ceremonial procession carrying Thanka Anki (golden attire) for Mandala-puja at Lord Ayyappa Temple will set off to Sabarimala from Sree Parthasarathy Temple at Aranmula on Tuesday morning.