SABARIMALA: With hours remaining for Makaravilakku, lakhs of pilgrims thronged Sannidhanam and nearby areas, including Pandithavalam and Saramkuthi, for Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku darshan since Sunday evening.
Pilgrims occupied all available open space at Pandithavalam, Malikappuram, Forest IB Station, Saramkuthi and Appachimedu and built ‘parnasalas’ (temporary shelters) to guard themselves from the heat during day and severe cold at night. Devaswom authorities have built barricades at vulnerable locations to prevent stampede-like situation at Pandithavalam, Malikappuram, Koprakalam and the open place near annadanamandapam.
1,600 police personnel deployed for Makaravilakku peak days. In addition to the 1,500-odd police personnel, including officers, an additional 200 personnel were deployed at Sannidhanam to ensure security to pilgrims.
Barricades were set up at various points, including Nadapandal at Malikappuram and North Nada to prevent stampede and ensure queue system for darshan of Lord Ayyappa after adorning Thiruvabharanam on the idol during Makaravilakku ceremony. To control the flow of pilgrims through the traditional forest route through Pulmedu, police authorities imposed restrictions on the flow of pilgrims at various points between Uralkkuzhi and North Nada.
The KSEB authorities have provided lighting arrangements at Pandithavalam, the open space near Annadanamandapam near Malikappuram, near Guest House, Koprakalam and Saramkuthi for providing facilities for pilgrims for Makarajyothi darshan.
On hill top at Pulmedu, where thousands of pilgrims camp for Makarajyothi darshan, police have made special arrangements for pilgrims’ safety. Lighting arrangements were made to ensure visibility during night from Tuesday. Adequate number of police personnel, including DySPs, CIs and SIs, were deployed