Kerala’s Sabarimala temple to reopen from today amid strict Covid-19 norms

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The Sabarimala temple in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala will reopen from Monday for the two-month-long Mandala-Makaravilakku festival. The hilltop shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa will open on Monday evening and people will be allowed for obeisance from Tuesday.

At first, the temple will open for the 41-day Mandala puja festival which will conclude on December 26. It will open again on December 30 and darshan will be allowed till January 20th for the Makaravilakku festival.

State health minister Veena George said on Sunday that the department has made elaborate arrangements for pilgrims to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

State authorities have insisted that people have to either produce a full vaccination certificate or a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours if they wish to visit the shrine. An official told news agency PTI on Sunday that all devotees should also produce their Aadhaar cards.

Security will be tightened in and around Sabarimala given the Mandala-Makaravilakku festival.

“At the state level, special meetings were convened in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Idukki districts to coordinate the activities. The health department officials are being deployed at treatment centres from Pamba to Sannidhanam,” health minister Veena George was quoted as saying by ANI on Sunday.

“The services of expert doctors from medical colleges are ensured in Pamba and Sannidhanam. These centres will be operational from Monday,” she added.

She said that emergency medical centres and oxygen parlours were being set up at five locations along the journey from Pamba to Sannidhanam.

The health minister also said that anyone experiencing excessive heartbeat, shortness of breath or chest pain during the journey to the temple, should visit the emergency centres on priority, adding that trained staff nurses and other medical facilities are available here throughout.

Specialised dispensaries have also been set up in Sannidhanam, Pampa, Nilakkal, Charalmedu (Ayyappan Road) and Erumeli, Veena Geroge said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, trekking to the Sabarimala temple will be allowed only through the Swami Ayyappan Road.

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