Ahead of the Sabarimala festival which begins on November 16, the temple board has issued fresh guidelines in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lord Ayyappa Temple, in Sabarimala, Kerala. (PTI Photo)
The Travancore Devaswom Board has issued new guidelines ahead of the Sabarimala festival season. The festival season begins on November 16. All devotees must possess a Covid-19 negative certificate and they must wear masks and use sanitisers.
For the first time in the history of the temple, all devotees will be regulated through a virtual queue system during this festival season. Only 1,000 devotees will be allowed per day during weekdays to the temple. This has been extended up to 2,000 devotees each day during Saturdays and Sundays. During Mandala-Makaravilakku Pooja days, up to 5,000 devotees will be allowed darshan.
Queue slots for all days in December have been fully booked. Only a few slots are available for some days in November and January.
Devotees must possess a Covid-19 negative certificate (procured within the last 24 hrs) and medical insurance card. No devotees will be allowed darshan without registering in the virtual queue.
Devotees will not be allowed to take the traditional holy dip in the sacred Pamba river. The board will install special showers in Pamba. Devotees will not be allowed to stay in Sannidhanam or Pamba, however, limited arrangements will be provided at Nilakkal.
Trekking will be allowed only through Swami Ayyappan road. Special arrangements will be made for ‘ghee abhishekam’ at Sannidhanam. Light motor vehicles will be allowed to drop devotees at Pamba and has to return back to Nilakkal for parking.
Festival season schedule
Mandala Pooja – 16/11/2020 – 26/12/2020
Makaravilakku Pooja – 30/12/2020 – 20/01/2021 –
Makaravilakku – 14/01/2021