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Reason For Sabarimala Ayyappan Temple Crowd in December 2023

Image Credit: Twitter

The Sabarimala Ayyappan temple pilgrimage was opened on November 16 for Mandal and Makaravilakku Puja. Since then, thousands of devotees have visited the Sabarimala Ayyappan temple daily.

An online booking system is being followed for Sami Darshan. Accordingly, 80,000 devotees were allowed to have darshan every day. Apart from that, arrangements were made for devotees to make immediate reservations and have a darshan.

While thousands of people came to Sabarimala through online booking, thousands of devotees came to Sabarimala through instant booking. Due to this, the number of devotees at Sabarimala increased manifold.

As thousands of devotees thronged Sabarimala every day, devotees had to wait for hours for Sami's darshan. Devotees waited a long time at the Pamba and climbed the hill. Despite taking various measures, including increasing darshan hours, the crowd could not be controlled as the number of devotees was very high.

Due to this, people who came with children and older adults suffered a lot. Despite the reduction in online bookings per the court order, the devotees thronged. Due to this, many devotees from other states returned without going to Sabarimala.

The Kerala High Court urged the Kerala government and the Devaswom Board to take swift action to improve basic facilities for Ayyappa devotees and control crowding at Sabarimala.

Based on that, even though various plans were made, the crowding could not be controlled. In this situation, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who participated in the New Kerala Sadas People's Grievance Meeting held in Idukki, discussed the Sabarimala situation.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in that meeting, "The number of devotees at Sabarimala has increased to 88 thousand daily. This is the cause of overcrowding. After that, the darshan time was increased to 18 hours. Online booking was reduced from 90k to 80k.

You can suspend the ongoing instant booking at Nilakkal. Instant booking can be continued only if required. Authorities should pay more attention to darshan for women and children.

Steps should be taken under the leadership of the head of the Devasthanam to provide the necessary basic facilities to the devotees who are trekking from Pamba to Sannithanam. Officers should work in a coordinated manner. Arrangements should be made so that devotees are not affected."

In this situation, the COVID cases are increasing in Kerala. It has now come to a question how the Kerala government will manage to control the Sabarimala crowd and the Covid simultaneously.