Awareness campaign for pilgrims planned
: Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) president M. Rajagopalan Nair said here on Friday that the TDB was making all efforts to provide basic amenities to pilgrims visiting Sabarimala.
The TDB president, along with K. Cicily, board member; M. Satishkumar, executive officer; Jolly Ullas, executive engineer; and V.S. Jayakumar, festival control officer, was addressing a press conference at the Devaswom Guest House at the Sannidhanam on Friday.
Mr. Nair said the TDB has shifted all hotels from the Lower Tirumuttom and in the vicinity of the Valiya Nadappanthal to Paandithavalom with a view to providing more open space to pilgrims and to ensure better cleanliness in the immediate surroundings of the Ayyappa Temple complex. However, he clarified that the board had not reduced the number of hotels at the Sannidhanam whereas the number of hotels at Pampa had been reduced by three. All the 13 hotels at the Sannidhanam have been shifted to Paandithavalom, he added.
He said six ‘annadanam' centres, including two free-feeding centres of the TDB, were functioning at the Sannidhanam. The Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom, Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajom, Sree Bhoothanatha Dharma Sthapanom and the Bangalore-based ESSAM group are the other agencies conducting ‘annadanam' at Sabarimala.
The TDB president and K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary and chairman of High Power Committee for implementation of the Sabarimala Master Plan, would jointly convene a meeting in Hyderabad on December 8 in an effort to make Ayyappa devotees aware of the custom, tradition and essential spirit of the Sabarimala pilgrimage.
Mr. Nair said a similar meeting would be held in Chennai on December 9.
Mr. Nair said the total revenue collection at Sabarimala during the ongoing pilgrim season as on Thursday was Rs. 7,51,05,655. Revenue collection during the same period in the previous year was Rs. 5,56,61,750.