Unprecedented rush at Sabarimala

Staff Reporter

PATHANAMTHITTA: Sabarimala has been witnessing unprecedented rush since Monday evening, which, according to Devaswom sources, is the heaviest pilgrim flow during the ongoing Makaravilakku festival.

Many pilgrims sustained minor injuries when a thick rope tied to iron poles near the Sannidhanam broke on Monday. But for the timely intervention and effective rescue operation by the police, the situation would have been worse, an eyewitness said.

Pilgrims had to wait for eight to nine hours on the Sabaripeetom-Sannidhanam stretch of the traditional trekking path for the holy darshan in the past 24 hours.

In order to ease the congestion at the Sannidhanam, the police had to block the pilgrims at Pampa on the foothills thrice in the previous night. The flow of pilgrims was regulated by blocking them at Sabaripeetom and Marakkoottom also from Monday night. The queue for darshan was found extending beyond Sabaripeetom, three km from the Sannidhanam, on Tuesday afternoon.

The heavy influx of pilgrims through the Kumily-Kozhikkanam-Uppupara-Pulmedu route, too, contributed to the congestion at the holy hillock.

The police enforced one-way between Marakkoottom and the Sannidhanam by diverting the Sannidhanam-bound pilgrims through the Saramkuthi path and leaving Chandranandan Road for the return of pilgrims from the Sannidhanam.

Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom volunteers distributed biscuit packets and medicated drinking water to the pilgrims waiting near the barricades. The Travancore Devaswom Board deployed students of Kshetra Kala Peetom to supply drinking water to pilgrims waiting in queues.