No restrictions in Sabarimala during day: TDB

No restrictions in Sabarimala during day: TDB

Police personnel stand guard at the 18 sacred steps of the Lord Ayyappa temple on the second day of Malayalam month of 'Vrischikam,' in Sabarimala, on Sunday. A few number of devotees were witnessed at the temple despite the day being a holiday (Sunday).

Faced with all-round criticism for restrictions imposed on pilgrims visiting Sabarimala, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) on Sunday said all restrictions during the day-time have been removed and that efforts were being made to ensure basic facilities for the devotees.

Devotees have been complaining of lack of basic facilities like toilet, drinking water and proper transport facilities at Pamba, the traditional base camp, ever since the temple opened for its 62-day Mandala Pooja-Makaravilakku annual pilgrimage season on Friday. Most of the structures in Pamba that were washed away in the unprecedented August floods have not been restored.

After holding talks with DGP Loknath Behera, TDB president A Padmakumar said restrictions during the night hours would continue since there is a possibility of issues or problems. “Pilgrims would be allowed to enter the shrine from 3 am and there will be no restrictions to stay in the night at the shrine. Pilgrims can witness ‘Neiabhishekam’ to Lord Ayyappa from 3.15 am to 12.30 pm and there will be no problems,” Padmakumar said.

Responding to criticism that Pamba and Nilakkal are bereft of basic infrastructure, Padmakumar said a decision was taken not to construct any new permanent structure in Pamba and that Nilakkal would be the base camp for pilgrims.

“Immediate action will be taken to resolve issues pointed out by the pilgrims and we have taken to increase the number of toilets in Pamaba and Nilakkal. We have also increased the parking space in Nilakkal,” he said.

The TDB will move the SCon Monday seeking more time to implement the order allowing women of all age into the temple.