(Eds;updating with details on pilgrims,hundi collection)
Sabarimala, Dec 8 (PTI): After a 20-day lull since the
drastic dip in pilgrim arrivals in the initial weeks.
The lifting of restrictions imposed by police and ease in
tension that had prevailed at the shrine, following protests
against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict,
permitting women of all age groups, have triggered high inflow
of devotees after the initial lull.
According to temple sources, over 85,126 pilgrims
visited the hill top temple on Friday alone, indicating a
steady increase in the footfalls.
While the head count was 79,306 on December 3, it was
on December 6, the anniversary of the Babari Masjid demolition
day, though there had been extra vigil and additional security
arrangements at the temple complex.
Unlike the previous years, the temple wore a deserted
look for many days after it opened for the over two-month-long
monthly pilgrim season on November 16.
The number of devotees, who had offered prayers at the
shrine, was just 28,717 on November 16, as per figures.
worshipped at the shrine since it opened for the pilgrim
It said that the Hundi collection and revenue from sale
of appam and Aravana prasadams had also gone up.
The devastation caused by the August floods had affected
the usual pre-season arrangements implemented by the
government at Nilackal, the base camp, and Pamba, the last
gateway to the hill temple.
The dearth of dormitory facilities, safe drinking water
and restrictions imposed on private vehicles have caused
difficulties for devotees and affected their usual inflow.
Besides this, the intense protests by devotees and right
wing groups against the LDF government's decision to implement
the September 28 apex court verdict on the entry of young
women had distanced pilgrims away from the forest temple,
located in the Western Ghats.
Prohibitory orders had been invoked in and around
Sabarimala by police following the violent protests.
The opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP had been on a war
path against the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government for the past
several weeks, demanding lifting of prohibitory orders.
Raising the same demand, three UDF MLAs have been staging
a satyagraha at the portals of the state Assembly, while BJP
state general secretary A N Radhakrishnan is on an indefinite
fast before the Secretariat since last week.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)