Kerala: Sabarimala Temple opens; strict restrictions in place, COVID negative certificate mandatory

Kerala: Sabarimala Temple opens; strict restrictions in place, COVID negative certificate mandatory

Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple is opening today after a hiatus of seven months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Pilgrims with COVID-free certificates and certified fit will be allowed to trek to the hilltop from the base camp Pambha, said Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

While talking to the media, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed that devotees will be required to book darshan time via virtual queue system. He added that those planning to visit the hill shrine will further have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates and health certificates to ensure that they are capable of undertaking the trek. Also, a maximum of 250 pilgrims will be allowed to visit the shrine per day.

Reportedly, the shrine will open at 5 PM today, and devotees will be allowed to enter only after 5 AM on Saturday morning. The temple opens for five-day monthly pujas on October 17, which will also mark the first day of Malayalam month Thulam.

Kerala: Sabarimala Temple opens; strict restrictions in place, COVID negative certificate mandatory

Masks have not been made mandatory for trekking, as medical experts opined that masks would cause breathing problems for pilgrims while scaling heights. Pilgrims below 10 and above 60 years of age will not be allowed to go on the trek; they will have to wait until the COVID-19 situation improves, said the TDB. As per the reports, a hospital has also been set up for those who test positive.

Pilgrims will not be allowed to take customary bathing at Pamba river this time. Instead of that, special showers have been set up. Devotees will be allowed entry through Erumeli and Vadasserikara routes whereas all other forest routes have been sealed, said TDB Chairman N Vasu. Pilgrims will not be permitted to gather or stay at the temple top.

Also, the shrine will be closed on Oct 21, after Harivarasanam renditions.

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