Sabarimala (Kerala): Ayyappa devotees have been advised by authorities not to visit the hill shrine in the coming days as the Pampa river at the foothills is overflowing due to heavy rains.
The Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the shrine, district authorities and police have issued alerts to devotees and decided to stop them at various points till the water level recedes.
A large number of pilgrims are flocking to the famed Lord Ayyappa temple as it will be opened for the 'niraputhari' ritual and festivities of 'Chingam' this week.
The river, flowing on the foothills of Sabarimala, breached its banks at several places, submerging many shops, damaging buildings, flooding pathways and uprooting electric posts.
Heavy rains in the catchment areas of the Sabarigiri hydroelectric project and opening of the shutters of the Pampa and Anathode dams caused overflowing of the river, authorities said. The shutters of Moozhiyar and Kakki, the other dams in Pathanamthitta districts, were also opened.
Two bridges across the river at Triveni, which devotees use to cross to reach the shrine, were inundated, they said.
"As the Pampa river is overflowing and the bridges are submerged, pilgrims will be unable to cross them and reach Sabarimala," TDB President A Padmakumar said.
"As a precautionary step and to avoid calamities, we request pilgrims to avoid travelling to the shrine till the water level dips," he said.
Police said necessary alerts were being given to pilgrims, saying it would be difficult for them to trek to the shrine if the heavy rains continued.
Barricades have been set up and ropes tied at Pampa to prevent people from travelling to the shrine,they said, adding that those who arrive there ignoring the alerts would be stopped and sent back.
The Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple will be opened for the 'niraputhari' pooja tomorrow evening. The annual 'niraputhari' ritual will be held on 15 August.
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Updated Date: Aug 13, 2018 23:00:14 IST