Sabarimala temple reopens; only 250 people allowed per day, COVID-19 test mandatory for entry
The hill shrine, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, opened for the monthly puja on Friday evening after staying closed for over six months due to the coronavirus lockdown
Sabarimala: The famed Lord Ayyappa temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district opened to devotees on Saturday morning after staying closed for over six months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Few worshippers wearing masks and carrying COVID-19 negative certificate offered prayers.
The temple, which opened for the monthly puja on Friday evening, will allow pilgrims to offer prayers till 21 October. Rapid antigen tests are being conducted at Nilackal for those not carrying a negative test report for COVID-19 .
"This is the first time since 25 March, when a nationwide lockdown came into force, that pilgrims are being allowed to offer prayers at the hill shrine, which opened at 5 am," sources in the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) said.
As many as 246 people have booked through the virtual queue system for darshan on Saturday. Each day only 250 people will be allowed inside the temple.
Though the temple opened on Friday evening for the monthly puja, entry of devotees was allowed only from Saturday, the first day of Thulam (malayalam month).
Only those between 10-60 years with a medical certificate stating that they were fit to trek the holy hill will be allowed to offer prayers. Due to the pandemic, the pilgrims will not be allowed to stay at Sannidhanam, Nilackkal or Pamba.
Issuing a new set of guidelines, Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua said 31 percent of the eligible population of the state have been fully vaccinated, while 95 percent got their first dose.
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