Floodwaters enter Ramamurthy Mandapam where many pilgrims are camping
Many Sabarimala pilgrims were stranded at Pampa for about five hours on Saturday with the swollen river Pampa breaching its banks and inundating the roads leading to the Ganapati Temple as well as the Pampa Manalpuram in the forenoon.
The swollen Pampa breached its banks with the floodwater gushing from the reservoirs of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) at Kochu Pampa around 8.30 a.m.
The roads cutting across Pampa Manalpuram were submerged in the flood by 8.45 a.m., literally blocking the passage of pilgrims between the right and left banks of the river.
The police and the rescue team attached to the Fire and Rescue Force prevented the pilgrims from wading through the water and crossing the river as it involved high risk.
A fireman attached to the Fire and Rescue Force at Seethathode was fatally trapped in the heavy water current in a freak accident in the early hours on Friday.
The water entered even the spacious Ramamurthy Mandapam at Pampa Manalpuram many pilgrims were camping.
However, the police shifted all the people camping at the Mandapam to the Pampa Ganapathi Temple premises in view of the alarming flood situation.
A large number of Sannidhanam-bound pilgrims who reached the opposite bank of river Pampa had to wait for a few hours to cross the river.
The KSEB closed the Kochu Pampa dam shutters by 11.30 a.m. and the flood water started receding from by 1 p.m.
The pilgrim movement turned normal with the roads getting cleared by 1.30 p.m.
The pilgrim centre witnessed heavy rush on Saturday as hundreds of devotees from different parts of South India undertook their pilgrimage to the holy hillock, braving heavy downpour in the forests in the past 24 hours.
The Ayyappa Temple was closed after the Athazhapuja, marking the culmination of the annual Onam festival.