KOTTAYAM: The district administration and local governing bodies have made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of two-month annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival.
Being the gateway to the high range and closest main railway station to Sabarimala Pilgrim Centre, Kottayam is witnessing an unprecedented rush this season. The first batch of pilgrims have arrived here a day before the commencement of pilgrimage season.
The major shelters and base camps in the area are making brisk arrangements to welcome the devotees who will be thronging to the temple everyday for the next 41 days. The district administration is trying to arrange maximum facilities for the devotees at the camps.
The major camps in the district, Thirunakkara, Ettumanoor, Kumaranalloor, Malliyoor, Vaikom, Kaduthuruthy, Kidangoor, Kadappattoor, Ponkunnam, Chirakkadavu, Manarcad, Antheenadu and Thidanadu, have made elaborate arrangements to provide food, shelter and other facilities for the pilgrims. The service of Guruswamis will also be available at the camps for the ‘Kettumurukku’ ritual for the pilgrims.
Free food will be available for the pilgrims at the Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple. This has been arranged with the help of various organisations and seva samitis. Sanitation and latrine facilities will also be available at the camps.
The Travancore Devaswom Board will arrange bus service from Thirunakkara Temple Ground to Pamba everyday at 9 pm from Monday onwards. The KSRTC special services will also be active from Monday. This season, the MVD have added Kottayam-Kumily road to 300 metre traffic safety corridor.
The construction works at the Kumaranalloor Devi Temple, which caught fire a week ago, has been halted in the view of pilgrim season. The auditorium and hall in the temple premises will be opened for the pilgrims to make camps.
Meanwhile, the locals have raised severe protest towards the dilapidated roads to the major camps in the district including Kumaranalloor and Ettumanoor. The 2-km long temple road, from the highway to the temple, is in poor condition owing to the construction works in the area.
The Municipality has allocated `12 lakh for the renovation of this road, to be done on a war footing basis.
The construction of the drains in front of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple are yet to be completed, and this is causing difficulty for the motorists. The work commenced several weeks ago is lagging far behind the schedule.