The Travancore Devaswom Board will explore the feasibility of opening additional Appam-Aravana distribution counters at Pampa and Marakkoottom on the trekking path to ease pressure at the hillock, especially during the rush days of the pilgrim season, M.P. Govindan Nair, new board president, has said.

Mr. Nair told The Hindu at the Devaswom Guest House here on Friday flow of pilgrims to the Sannidhanam and the Ayyappa temple precincts must be streamlined to ensure a smooth ‘darshan’ for pilgrims. Pilgrims camping at the Sannidhanam, in their long wait for purchasing Aravana and Appam, contributed to the crowding at the hillock.

To move Centre

Mr. Nair said the TDB would approach the Union government seeking implementation of major recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee chaired by Buta Singh in terms of Sabarimala development.

He said the PAC had recommended exclusion of Sabarimala and surrounding areas from the Periyar Tiger Reserve so that the temple administration could make better arrangements for the pilgrimage in an eco-friendly manner.

Darshan for VIPs

Subhash Vasu, TDB member, told The Hindu that overcrowding of the temple sopanam, especially inside the special enclosure meant for VIPs, had been causing much inconvenience to the ordinary pilgrims, who had to wait for hours for the ‘darshan.’ Mr. Vasu said the board was considering issuing slips to the VIPs as well as physically challenged pilgrims for entry into the special enclosure.

Mr Govindan Nair said he was happy with the arrangements in place at Sabarimala for the pilgrim season. “Sabarimala is clean and waste-free now, thanks to the pre-season cleaning drive carried out by the 4,000 volunteers of the Mata Amrithanandamayi Math, he added.” The workers of the Sabarimala Sanitation Society too were doing a good job in keeping the pilgrim centre clean.