Sabarimala Temple opens for Chithira Attavishesha Puja amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Sabarimala Temple in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala opened for devotees for Chithira Attavishesha Puja on Wednesday. The temple would close at 9 pm after the puja and the devotees will be allowed through the virtual queue booking system, informed Travancore Devaswom Board.

The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple will reopen on 15 November for the two-months long Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage and festival.

 Devotees who are visiting the temple during the festive season need to follow the updated coronavirus guidelines that were issued prior to the temple reopening on 2 November. Pilgrims were only allowed in after they had pre-booked their slot and shown either proof of double vaccination or a negative RT-PCR test report, according to Hindustan Times.

According to news reports, only 25,000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the Sabarimala festival during the annual pilgrimage season. Over 10 lakh devotees have already registered themselves for the visit till date, according to Kerala Devaswom minister K Radhakrishnan.

The minister has also confirmed that all arrangements for the Sabarimala pilgrimage will be completed on time, with the health department also setting up five emergency medical centres nearby, as well as a testing centre for COVID-19 in Nilakkal. The medical centres will have facilities such as an external defibrillator, devices for monitoring blood pressure and first-aid kits for the devotees.

Arrangements have also been made for around 470 buses of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for the pilgrims, out of which chain service between the Nilakkal and Pampa base camps would be conducted by 140 buses.

The government has closed the traditional forest trekking path to Sabarimala via Erumeli and Pulmedu and police and forest officials would be patrolling the trail. The Kerala government has also advised devotees who have recently recovered from coronavirus or have health issues, to take a doctor’s permission before undertaking the six kilometres trek from Pampa to Sannidhanam.

The state government had restricted the number of daily visitors to the temple to less than a 1,000 in view of the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Kerala reported 6,444 new COVID-19 cases and 45 deaths on Tuesday.

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Sabarimala Temple opens for Chithira Attavishesha Puja amid COVID-19 pandemic
Sabarimala Temple opens for Chithira Attavishesha Puja amid COVID-19 pandemic
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