Sabarimala verdict: TDB braces for challenges

Sabarimala verdict: TDB braces for challenges

As the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) prepares to implement the Supreme Court judgement allowing women of all ages to enter the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, ensuring amenities and security will be key on the run-up.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said on Friday that implementation of the order was TDB’s responsibility. The board had favoured status quo on traditions followed at the hill shrine. 

A roadmap on the preparations is likely to emerge only after a meeting of the Board scheduled next week. With the annual mandalam-makaravilakku pilgrimage season set to commence in mid-November, TDB could be looking at some tough deadlines.

“In the wake of the Supreme Court order, there’s nothing much that the board can do now, apart from discussing ways to implement the order,” A Padmakumar, TDB president, said here. Conservative estimates say about four crore pilgrims visit the temple every year.

Proposed measures to address issues including crowd management will be keenly watched. Members of the tantri (head priest) family have also raised infrastructure and security as key challenges ahead of the Board.

The TDB is coordinating restoration works at the foothills in Pampa which was severely hit in last month’s floods.

Earlier this month, Nilakkal was officially made the base camp for pilgrims during the ensuing season. During the season, only temporary amenities will be provided at Pampa. Bridges and pilgrim amenities were severely damaged in the flood.

A meeting of chief ministers and devaswom ministers of south Indian states is scheduled to review preparedness ahead of the season.

The Sabarimala temple will be opened for monthly pujas from September 16 to 21. The annual pilgrimage season will commence on November 16, for the mandala puja mahotsavam.







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