Adhering to COVID protocol, devotees witness Makaravilakku at SabarimalaPTI | Sabarimala | Updated: 14-01-2021 20:03 IST | Created: 14-01-2021 20:03 IST
Amid strict COVID-19protocol, hundreds of devotees on Thursday offered prayers atthe famous Lord Ayyappa temple here on the auspicious occasionof 'Makaravilakku', marking the culmination of the overtwo-month-long pilgrimage.
The hill temple, which used to witness heavy rushof lakhs of pilgrims on the occasionevery year, was throngedby only a few pilgrims due to the strict safety guidelines inplace in the wake of the virus outbreak.
As per the government directive, only 5,000 pilgrimswere permitted to climb the holy hills to offer prayers on theday, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) officials here said.
Wearing face masks and carrying the customary'irumudikettu' (the traditional bundle a devotee brings tothe shrine) over their heads, devotees gathered at the templecomplex to have a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deityin the evening.
The portals of the shrine was thrown open after the'deeparadhana' (arti), which was performed to the idol of LordAyyappa adorned with the holy jewels, 'Thiruvabharanam'.
The jewels were brought here, moments before the'arti', in a ceremonial procession, which started its journeya couple of days earlier from the Pandalam palace, where,according to legend, Lord Ayyappa was born and spent hischildhood.
Police, health department and other agencies madeelaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the final legof the pilgrimage and to manage the crowd in compliance withthe COVID protocols.
Indicating the fall in revenue collection at thehill temple, he said only Rs 16 crore was collected tillTuesday in this season compared to the revenue of Rs 260 crorelast year.
The minister also requested devotees to extend allhelp to the hill shrine.PTI LGK BNWELCOME BNWELCOME
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