Photo: VK Aji / Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Ahead of the Makaravilakku festival, a large number of devotees gathered at the Sabarimala Temple on Wednesday.
Makaravilakku is an annual festival held on Makarasankranthi day which is January 14. It is believed, that a light will appear in the sky on Makaravilakku day and people wait for this light before darshan.
As per official sources, devotees are doing virtual bookings ahead of the visit.
Devotees will be permitted to enter Sabarimala temple till 12 noon on the day of Makaravilakku. Makar Sankranti Pooja will be held at 8.45pm as per sources.
All arrangements for the darshan of Makaravilakku have been completed as per sources.
All precautions as per the guidelines of the Kerala High court will be followed, said the temple authority.
All measures will be taken to control the crowd. As per the sources, strong security will be provided in all viewpoints of Makaravilakku.
Police have decided the number of devotees who can camp at each point as per sources.
About 26,000 devotees will be allowed in Pandithavalam and about 3,000 devotees in Sannidhanam.
As per the sources, the Thanga Angi procession where the ornaments worn by Lord Ayyappa during the time of the Puja on Makaravilakku day were carried out, will start from Pandalam tomorrow, which is Thursday.
Earlier in December, the Sabarimala Temple witnessed a heavy rush of devotees amid the ongoing annual pilgrimage season, an official statement from the Temple management committee said.
Officials said that the temple has witnessed a heavy rush of devotees since December 11, and a maximum of 1.07 lakh devotees visited the temple on December 12.
On December 12, the temple received record bookings for the darshan of Lord Ayyappa as over 1 lakh devotees thronged the temple in a day."As many as 1,07,260 devotees made online bookings for the Lord Ayyappa's darshan on the day," they said.Similarly, about 60,000 people visited the temple on December 11, they said.
Considering the heavy footfall, elaborate security arrangements have also been made by the temple management authorities to ensure the safety of devotees.
"Special arrangements have been made at the temple in view of the heavy rush. Devotees are being escorted from Pampa to Sannidhanam in a controlled and segmented manner. Security personnel have been deployed at each point for this purpose," Sabarimala Special Officer Harishchandra Naik said.
The segment rotation is a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident due to the crowding of devotees.
Devotees waiting in the queue are also provided snacks and drinking water. Apart from the police, the services of RAF and NDRF personnel are also being used to regulate the traffic, Naik said.
The online portals of Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala were opened on November 17 for devotees for the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festivals, marking the beginning of the two-month-long pilgrimage season.
Over 2.5 lakh pilgrims visited Lord Ayappa Temple at Sabarimala in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district in the first six days of the pilgrimage season.
"2,61,874 pilgrims visited Sabarimala in the first six days of this pilgrim season. There are indications that the number of devotees will increase in the coming days," Kerala Devaswom Department Minister K Radhakrishnan said. (ANI)