Move to facilitate smooth darshan during Makaravilakku

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has made elaborate arrangements to facilitate a smooth ‘darshan’ for all devotees visiting the Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala during the Makaravilakku festival, B. Mohandas, Devaswom Executive Officer, has said.

Compared to the previous years, Sabarimala witnessed an increase in the number of pilgrims undertaking the annual pilgrimage to the Ayyappa Temple this year, he said. A rough estimate showed an increase of not less than 20 per cent in the number of pilgrims visiting Sabarimala during the 41-day Mandalam festival that came to a close on December 26.

Mr Mohandas said the board could effectively manage the mammoth crowd during the rush days of the pilgrim season with the help of the police.

The extension of the darshan duration at the Ayyappa temple, too, was of great help to the devotees as well as authorities.

Mr Mohandas said the board had made elaborate arrangements for the holy darshan, prasadom distribution, Neyyabhishekom, and the Makarajyoti darshan, at Sabarimala.

He said pilgrims would be provided with adequate space for camping at Sabarimala for the Makarajyoti darshan.

The Executive Officer said the board’s decision to do away with the user fee at various toilet complexes, in an effort to check the fleecing of pilgrims at the Sannidhanam, was of great relief to the pilgrims coming from different parts of the county.

Healthcare

The healthcare mission of the ‘108 Ambulance Service’ as well as the Sabari Sanjeevani Emergency Healthcare Project on the Pampa-Sannidhanam trekking path too was a major leap in the healthcare sector at Sabarimala, this year, he said.

Mr Balachandran said steps had been taken by the Kerala State Electricity Board as well as the Kerala Water Authority to provide uninterrupted supply of power and water at Sabarimala and Pampa during the Makaravilakku festival.

The TDB as well as the Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom had made elaborate arrangements to supply medicated drinking water along the trekking path between Pampa and the Sannidhanam during the festival, he said.

Biscuits were also being distributed to the pilgrims waiting inside the barricades along the path.

Mr Mohandas said the TDB had kept as much as 10 lakh cans of Aravana and five lakh packets of Appam as buffer stock to meet the growing demand for Sabarimala prasadom during the Makaravilakku festival.

The TDB was also serving free food (Annadanam) to as many as 10,000 pilgrims at Pampa and to 5000 persons at the Sannidhanam on a daily basis during the annual pilgrim season, he added.

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