NATIONAL

Entry to Sabarimala only for those who register on portal

Entry of pilgrims to the temple will be through the virtual queue portal.  

The number of pilgrims being allowed to the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala during the two-month Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season beginning November 16 will be increased proportionately taking into account those who do not turn up on the first two days of the pilgrimage after registering on the virtual portal. The entry of pilgrims from Pampa to the temple will be through the virtual queue portal.

A maximum of 1,000 pilgrims will be allowed darshan during the first five days of the week, 2,000 on Saturdays and Sundays, and 5,000 on the days of Mandala Puja and Makaravilakku.

Reviewing the arrangements for the pilgrimage at a meeting here on Friday, Minister for Devaswoms Kadakampally Surendran said steps would be taken to ensure social distancing.

COVID-19 negative certificate would be mandatory. Those in the 60-65 age group would have to produce a medical certificate for entry. The test should be taken by pilgrims 24 hours before reaching the base camp at Nilackal.

COVID-19 testing

Besides setting up COVID-19 testing kiosks at Nilackal and Pampa for antigen tests, the Health Department had made arrangements at the Thiruvananthapuram Central, Thiruvalla, Chengannur, and Kottayam railway stations and at bus stations.

Those testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, including those from other States, would be provided treatment till they turn negative. Arrangements had been made at government hospitals in Pathanamthitta and Kottayam and private hospitals in the two districts.

Masks, sanitisers

Masks would not be made compulsory for pilgrims while trekking. The Minister said the relaxation was as per the protocol that provided exemption during high physical activity. Used masks would be collected. Directions had been given to shops to make available masks and sanitisers for pilgrims and to ensure oxygen parlours and medical centres.

Bathing in the Pampa river would not be allowed. Instead, showers would be installed.