Kerala

Heavy rush at Sabarimala as Makaravilakku fete begins

Rush for darshan: Pilgrims waiting on the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple premises on Monday morning.

Rush for darshan: Pilgrims waiting on the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple premises on Monday morning.  

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Police tighten security arrangements by deploying additional force

The annual Makaravilakku festival began at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple with chief priest (tantri) Kandararu Rajeevaru, assisted by Melsanthi (head priest) V.N. Vasudevan Namboodiri, performing Ashtadravya Maha Ganapati homom on Monday morning. Sabarimala has been witnessing heavy rush of devotees since the opening of the temple at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Melsanthi opened the sanctum sanctorum at 3 a.m. and the auspicious Neyyabishekom started at 3.15 p.m. after Ashtabhishekom.

Hundreds of devotees have been camping at the base camp at Nilackal for the past three days. Many of them were not aware of the closure of the temple for two days after the culmination of the 41-day Mandalam festival on December 27. They had to wait for hours together inside thickly-packed barricades to ascend the 18 steps leading to the temple on Monday.

Meanwhile, the police have tightened security arrangements at the pilgrim centre by deploying additional force in vulnerable areas. According to police sources, 75,110 pilgrims have crossed the police checkpost at the entry point to the Sabarimala trekking path at Pampa by 5 p.m. on Monday.

The police have deployed six woman sub-inspectors above the age of 50 years at the Sannidhanam from Monday and they will be on duty there till January 16. As many as 88 woman police personnel have been deployed at the Nilackal base camp.

This is besides 84 woman police personnel, including 12 sub-inspectors, deployed at Pampa.

Water kiosks

A total of 2,280 police and Central security forces have been deployed at Sabarimala and Pampa as part of the security arrangements during the Makaravilakku pilgrim season. The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has installed 144 drinking water kiosks at Pampa, and along the Pampa-Sannidhanam trekking path for supplying safe drinking water.

The KWA has also installed 12 water dispensers that supply hot and cold water at different points on the Pampa-Sannidhanam trekking path.

A total of 27 reverse osmosis plants, which could produce 27,000 litres of treated water an hour, have been installed at Nilackal.

The KWA has been supplying water in tanker lorries to Nilackal.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 4:36:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/heavy-rush-as-makaravilakku-festival-begins/article25873213.ece

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