Online booking for Sabarimala pilgrims
The virtual queue facility that offers online booking for a “darshan” of Lord Ayyappa by devotees at their chosen time has helped reduce overcrowding at the hill shrine for the annual pilgrimage underway.
According to temple officials, till Thursday, 6.43 lakh devotees have booked through the system by logging onto www.sabarimalaq.com and the total hits received far exceeded the actual booking.
“The steady increase in response shows that the devotees, especially those from far-off places, prefer to use the facility to avoid spending endless hours in queue,” a senior police official on duty at Sabarimala said. “Effective crowd management to ensure hassle-free “darshan” is the biggest challenge during the two-month-long pilgrimage.
The virtual queue system has proved a great help to achieve this end,” the official said.
Police estimated the total bookings through the free service to go up to 20 lakh by the end of the pilgrimage season in mid-January, against 7.43 lakh bookings last year.
Sabarimala VirtualQ Portal is developed and managed by the Kerala Police to help devotees create a slot by selecting a particular date and time for their pilgrimage. The search results show a calendar view of the month with the dates in green colour box, if slots are available.
By clicking on the date, available slots for that particular day will be displayed on the right side and a devotee can choose a slot from the list. When a slot is booked, the pilgrim can take a printout of the coupon, also a copy will be sent to their email, officials added.
On the selected time, they can arrive at the Pampa base camp and proceed directly without being in the queue till the “Nadapanthal” in front of the shrine uphill.
The police will verify the coupon and photo ID of pilgrims to ensure that only the pre-registered pilgrims get into the dedicated queue.
This will help devotees plan their pilgrimage on an advanced basis as per the availability of slots.