THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:With hardly five days remaining for the Karkidaka Vavu bali, the preparations entered its final phase. Thiruvallam Parasurama temple, Varkala Papanasam, Shanghumugham beach, Aruvikkara and Aruvippuram are the major venues for ‘bali’ offerings in the district. More than one lakh faithful are expected to perform the rites in all the venues on August 11.
The district administration has requested the public to avoid Shanghumugham this year as the sea is rough and a major chunk of the beach has disappeared owing to sea erosion which hit the coast over the last three months.
However, the administration has allowed performing the rites at the ‘Kalmandapam’ near the beach and arrangements being made to install showers near it rather than taking a dip in the sea after the offerings.
According to District Collector K Vasuki, the crowd at Shanghumugham would be controlled this year due to the rough condition of the sea.
“I am requesting the public to avoid Shanghumugham this year to use Varkala or Thiruvallam temple. I have instructed the Thiruvallam temple authorities to make an additional bali mandapam to accommodate more persons who may avoid Shanghumugham. For those coming to Shanghumugham, they can perform it at the mandapam and deposit the offerings on the sea. But, they will be not allowed to take a dip as the district administration has made special arrangements including showers near the mandapam”, Vasuki told Express.
The district administration has also instructed to deploy more lifeguards on the beach and instructed the police to control the crowd. “We will allow a limited number of people to Shanghumugham as a major part of the beach has been eroded. The ritual could be performed at the limited space and there will be stringent crowd management as the beach is dangerous unlike in previous years”, Vasuki added. She also sought the co-operation of the public to conduct the ritual in a smoother way.
Unlike previous years, the government has given priority to set up safety facilities following the rough seas and MET Department’s warnings. The service of the police and lifeguard and medical facilities should be available at the destinations. Bathing ghat and pond of the Thiruvallam Sree Parasurama Swami Temple are being cleaned up. More showers are also being set up near the bathing ghat for the devotees to freshen up after the ritual. Earlier,The Devaswom Minister asked the officers of the Thiruvallam temple to ensure that polluted water of Parvathy Puthanar is blocked from entering the bathing ghat. The Travancore Devaswom Board has been asked to provide identity cards to priests who would lead the rituals in the destinations.Special KSRTC services will be arranged to the locations. Anticipating heavy rush, the police have enforced traffic regulation in the area, and movement of vehicles to the river bank will be regulated between 4 am and 12 noon.Apart from the police, services of the Fire and Rescue Services personnel and rescue divers will also be made available at the venues. The safety barricades are being erected at all the venues to manage the crowd.
The first batch of devotees will begin the ritual at 3.15 am at the Thiruvalla temple. Three bali mandapams will be set up inside the temple complex and four on the premises, authorities said. Of this, two will be on the banks of the adjacent Karamana river’s tributary. The seven mandapams and one additional can accommodate 6,000 persons at a time. Over 40 priests and 27 co-priests will lead the ritual.
The TDB has granted licences to priests who can offer bali facility on the Papanasam beach in Varkala.
The ritual will begin early morning and the beach and nearby areas will be lighted up from Monday evening. Police personnel will be deployed for the safety of devotees and traffic supervision.
The district administration has also instructed to make the venues plastic-free. As part of the drive, Section 133 under CrPC will be imposed at all the venues.
The district administration will take strict action against the violators with the help of police once the act is imposed. The plastic ban will be imposed from 12 noon on Friday till 12 noon on Sunday.