Restrictions on visiting shrine lifted at Sabarimala

Restrictions on visiting shrine lifted at Sabarimala

Sabarimala temple. PTI photo

The Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala would open for the five-day customary puja on September 16 during the Malayalam month 'Kanni' and restrictions imposed on devotees visiting it following the deluge last month have been lifted, officials said Thursday.

However, private vehicles, including two-wheelers of devotees, would be allowed only up to the Nilackal base station. A Kerala State Road Transport Bus would transport them to Pampa at the foothills to enable their trekking to the hill shrine.

The floodwaters had washed away virtually all pilgrim facilities on the banks of the Pampa river and the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) that manages the shrine had imposed restrictions on devotees visiting the temple for the Onam festival season last month.

The temple will remain open till September 21.

After a high-level meeting to review the post-flood situation at Pampa, TDB president M Padmakumar said the Tata Projects Ltd has agreed to take up the reconstruction work.

"Ayappa devotees can go the shrine for worship during the Kanni month puja," he said.

The TDB and Tata Projects would take all necessary steps to put in place necessary facilities for devotees during the three-month-long annual pilgrimage season beginning on November 17, he said.

The TDB had recently constructed a temporary footbridge 'Ayyappa Sethu,' across the Pampa by placing stones and sandbags.

The 'Pampa-Triveni bridge-over-river', which got submerged in the floods, was also restored to some extent.

During the rain mayhem, the Pampa overran its banks at several places, submerging many shops, damaging buildings, flooding pathways and uprooting electricity posts.

The toilet complex and parking facilities were also washed away.