Sabarimala: The holy hillock Sabarimala and
surrounding valleys will reverberate with devotional chants
for two months from tomorrow with the annual pilgrimage to the
forest shrine of Lord Ayyappa getting underway.
State agencies and Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which
manages the temple located in the heart of Periyar Tiger
Reserves, have made elaborate arrangements for one of the
worlds mega pilgrimages, which attracts over 30 million
pilgrims a year from different parts of the country.
The pilgrims have to trek five Kms from the base camp on the
river Pampa to reach the Sannidhanam atop the hill where the
temples of Ayyappa and Goddess Malikappurath Amma are located.
In view of the stampede in January this year, which claimed
102 lives of home-bound pilgrims, a scientific crowd management
system based on specially safety manual has been put in place
this year, official sources said.
For the first time, a `virtual queue` system will be tried
this season under which the devotees could register the time
of their preference to make worship through a website opened
by the police department.
Those having made the registration in advance would be
taken in batches of 1000 devotees each at the time specified
so that they could avoid waiting inordinately in queue.
Keeping the ecologically sensitive area pollution-free and
traffic management are also hard tasks connected with the
Over 5000 police personnel would be deployed at a time for
security and crowd control at the temple complex, base camp
and allied spots falling under the Sabarimala circuit.