THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The rough sea and subsequent restrictions for visitors at the Shangumugham beach are expected to create chaos during the Karkidaka vavubali on Saturday. Shangumugham is one of the largest bali venues in the capital district where thousands could offer the ritual at a time. But this year, only the Travancore Devaswom Board will be allowed to set up bali mandapam on the beach.
TDB’s twin mandapams on the beach can accommodate 800 persons at a time, said Ayyappan, Shangumugham sub-group officer of the board. The mandapams will be adjacent to the aarattu mandapam.
“Each mandapam can accommodate about 400 persons at a time. Eight showers will be set up for the devotees to take the ritualistic bath. An adequate number of people will be deployed to help the devotees perform the ritual in comfort,” Ayyappan said.
Devotees will be allowed to take bath at a specific area on the beach under the strict surveillance of lifeguards and police personnel. But, this will be denied, if the condition of the sea worsens, officials said.
Police will restrict entry to the beach by erecting barricades at the entrance to the beach. Only about 1,000 persons will be allowed in the area at a time.
800 can perform the ritual at a time at Shangumugham and that is not even the quarter of last year’s capacity
At most locations, the ritual will begin at 2.30 am and end just before noon
Restrictions will be in place at Varkala beach as well. Devotees will be allowed to take bath in specific places while lifeguards keep vigil.
There will be nine bali mandapams at the Thiruvallam Sree Parasuramaswami temple, one more than the previous year. “The new mandapam can accommodate 500-600 persons. Altogether, 3,500- 4,000 persons can offer the ritual at a time,” said the temple administrative officer. There will be 25 priests, 50 co-priests and 250 helpers to help the devotees. A total of 200 showers will be available at the ghat.