New Delhi: Sabarimala is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrimages located at the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the Western Ghat mountain ranges of Pathanamthitta District, Perunad grama panchayat in Kerala. Lord Ayappa's temple attracts millions of tourists each year. Situated amidst 18 hills, it happens to be one of the world's largest annual pilgrimages.
On Sunday, as many as 20 people were left injured in a minor stampede that took place at the famous Sabrimala temple. "20 Sabarimala pilgrims were injured in minor stampede at famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa. The injured have been admitted to Sannidhanam hospital," says Pathnamthitta Collector R Girija.
However, this is not the first time that a stampede like situation has occurred in the Sabrimala Temple premises. On January 14, 2011, one of the most devastating incidents of all times took place when as many as 106 pilgrims were killed and more than 100 injured. It happened on the Makara Jyothi Day at Pullumedu near Sabarimala. The stampede took place when pilgrims were returning from the Sabarimala shrine on the last day of the annual festival when a jeep toppled.
Before that on January 14, 1952, 66 Ayyappa pilgrims were burnt to death when two fireworks sheds caught fire. In 1999, same day, as many as 52 pilgrims were killed following a stampede during their return after witnessing the Makara Jyothi at Pamba.
One of the main causes for 1999 stampede happened to be collapse of the sides of a hillock, reportedly. Incidentally, the two-month-long pilgrimage, which started in November 2010, reported no such tragedy before this stampede.