Kerala

Sabarimala all set for Makaravilakku; Heavy security at Ayyappa Shrine

Pathanamthitta: The Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala and its premises have been brought under a heavy security blank as arrangements are in full swing at the hill shrine for the auspicious Makaravilakku on Wednesday, the finale of the two-month-long annual pilgrim season.

In view of the continuing heavy rush, more personnel of police, NDRF and Rapid Response Force have been deployed in and around the shrine for crowd management and to ensure the safety of devotees, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), said in Sabarimala.

“The rush of devotees has increased considerably since Sunday. So, 200 more police personnel of various ranks have been deployed in and around the shrine exclusively for crowd management,” a TDB statement said.

Over 1,400 police personnel including 15 DySPs and 36 Circle Inspectors are on duty at Sannidhanam, the temple complex, alone.

A 70-member bomb squad and a 20-member telecommunication wing were also on alert at the shrine complex, the release said.

Police, NDRF, Rapid Response Team and the Fire Force personnel would jointly monitor and manage the devotees who climb down the holy hills in heavy numbers after the Makaravilakku darshan, it added.

Meanwhile, the shrine authorities here said a team, led by temple executive officer, would receive the procession carrying ‘thiruvabharanam”, the sacred ornaments to be adored by Lord Ayyappa, on Wednesday evening at Saramkuthi, a pilgrim spot on the way to the shrine.

The jewels are being brought from the Pandalam palace, where, according to legend, Lord Ayyappa had spent his childhood.

Later, the sacred jewel box would be handed over to the team comprising state Devaswom Minister, TDB president and special commissioner, they said.

The holy jewels would be adorned on Lord Ayyappa and the customary ‘maaha deeparadhana’ would be held at the shrine in the evening, they added.

Thousands of devotees are expected to throng the hill shrine and its premises to witness the auspicious ‘makaravilakku’, the ritualistic ‘deeparadhana’ (aarthi) held at Ponnambalamedu, the hill facing the shrine, as part of the annual festivities.

Devotees would occupy different points in and around Sabarimala, hours before the ceremony, to have a glance of the ‘makaravilakku’.

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