Nilakkal will be made the base camp for pilgrims during the 2018-19 mandalam-makaravilakku pilgrimage season at the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said on Tuesday.
The decision was formalised at a meeting held to review post-flooding reconstruction of Pampa on the foothills and measures to restore amenities in and around the hill shrine.
Private vehicles will be permitted only till Nilakkal during the season. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will operate 250 buses from Nilakkal to Pampa during the season which commences on November 16. During the season, only temporary amenities will be provided at Pampa.
The state government has commenced a reconstruction project in and around Pampa which was battered by the flood last month. Bridges and pilgrim facilities have suffered severe damages. Personnel of Tata Projects Limited, entrusted with the reconstruction works, are in Sabarimala. Power supply in the region is yet to be restored. The Health Department is set to commence restoration work at the government hospital in Pampa.
The government has sanctioned Rs 200 crore for repairing of roads leading to Sabarimala. A meeting of chief ministers and devaswom ministers of south Indian states will be called to review preparedness ahead of the season.