Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 01 December 2021 9.39 AM IST

May this Pilgrimage season be trouble-free


The Sabarimala constituency, one of the largest pilgrimage destinations in the country, begins on Novtoday amember 16 amid concerns that the Covid is not yet eradicated. The torrential rains, floods and landslides that have continued for the past one month are spreading clouds of anxiety and uncertainty. Despite all obstacles, millions of devotees are patiently waiting to reach Ayyappa and seek reconciliation. The government and the Travancore Devaswom Board are working hard to provide them with all the facilities they need. For the time being, the decision has been taken to give darshan permission to 30,000 devotees daily. The situation will be assessed and changes will be made later. The permission given for the bathing in Pampas, which is considered sacred by the devotees, has also been withdrawn due to the flood situation. This control may be dropped as the situation improves.

Strict control of the number of devotees may cause great frustration to millions, but in the present situation there is no other way. The health of the pilgrims is paramount. Things can get out of hand if you do not exercise extreme caution and vigilance as the plague has not gone away. Visitors will be required to provide proof of vaccination. Those who have not been vaccinated must produce a certificate proving that they are not ill. Needless to say, this is a task that raises a heavy workload and challenge for the police. The success of this all depends on the patience and willingness of the police personnel assigned to do Sabarimala duty. The authorities should take special care to find such persons and send them to Sabarimala. There have been a number of complaints about police behavior in recent times. Especially from pilgrims from other states. Measures should be taken at the highest level to avoid this.

As usual, claims have been made that all preparations have been made for a trouble-free pilgrimage. It is only natural that complaints should be raised when the number of pilgrims increases. Everyone should be prepared to endure the fact that many of the facilities that previously existed had to be eliminated as part of Covid protocols. At the same time, the authorities should be able to provide necessary facilities along the Nilakkal, Pampa and Sannidhanam pilgrimage routes. Most of the roads in the state have been damaged due to continuous rains, floods and landslides. The weather needs to improve, even for emergency repairs. Pilgrims are going to face the most difficulties in terms of travel. Many of the preparations made before the rains have gone waste in rain. Similar preparations will have to be done on war-footing.

Proceeds from a pilgrimage to Sabarimala help the Devaswom Board to stand on its own two feet and meet the daily expenses of other small temples. The pilgrimage season also directly and indirectly contributes a variety of revenue to the state. Pilgrimage revenue last year was nominal. That is why the pilgrimage season is expected to go smoothly, though with some restrictions.

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