Traffic block on Chalakkayam-Pampa Road

Sabarimala Sannidhanam witnessed unprecedented rush as hundreds of people from different parts of the country undertook the annual pilgrimage to the forest shrine on Saturday, which is considered an auspicious day for ‘darshan’ at the Sastha temple. Police sources said the crowd on Saturday could have been the largest in the ongoing pilgrim season.

Pilgrims had to wait for hours together inside the iron barricades along the two-kilometre Marakkoottom-Sannidhanam stretch. The Travancore Devaswom Board supplied medicated drinking water and biscuits to the weary pilgrims.

Traffic block

The flow of pilgrims to Pampa led to traffic block along the Chalakkayam-Pampa stretch of the main-trunk road from the forenoon. The progress of vehicular movement on the Chalakkayam-Pampa stretch was very slow.

Pilgrims who reached the Valiya Nadappanthal at the Sannidhanam had to wait for two to three hours in the queue to reach the temple sopanam. The police said the Virtual Queue system of online registration for darshan had been getting very good response from Ayyappa devotees across the country. As many as 7,06,537 pilgrims had availed the facility for darshan in the past 20 days, the police said.

A new batch of police personnel assumed duty at Sabarimala on Saturday.

A total of 867 police personnel, including 11 Deputy Superintendents of Police, 21 Circle Inspectors and 53 sub-inspectors, have been deployed at the Sannidhanam. The new batch will be on duty at Sabarimala till November 18.

This is besides the 1,461-strong police teams from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, a battalion each of Rapid Action Force and National Disaster Response Force attached to the Central Reserve Police Force, State Commandos, and the Quick Response Teams. P. Venugopal, Devaswom Commissioner, is camping at Sabarimala.

Two die

Meanwhile, two pilgrims died after a heart attack at Sabarimala on Saturday.

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