Sabarimala temple in Kerala to open for monthly rituals from July 16; Conditions apply for devotees
Thiruvananthapuram, July 16: Sabarimala temple in Kerala, which had remained closed to devotees for months due to the novel coronavirus-related restrictions, will be reopening its doors from today, July 16, and pilgrims will be allowed to enter the shrine from Saturday morning.
Officials have already been instructed to enforce appropriate behaviour in the temple premises, including the use of masks, sanitisers and proper social distancing in accordance with the COVID-19 safety guidance issued by the central and state governments.
According to the information given by the officials who are familiar with the matter, the Lord Ayappa temple in Kerala's Sabarimala would be opened for its monthly puja rituals from July 17 to 21. Although the temple kept opening for a couple of days every month for monthly rituals even during the COVID-19 necessitated lockdown, devotees were not permitted for a darshan at the hill shrine.
Meanwhile, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), ensured that shrines under its management would not permit devotees in its premises during the lockdown period. However, daily rituals were conducted without fail.
The Sabarimala temple has imposed a number of conditions for devotees wishing to attend the monthly rituals on its premises from Friday onwards. No more than 5,000 devotees, who have booked their slots through the online queue, will be allowed for the darshan.
Moreover, only those pilgrims who can produce their negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test reports issued within the past 48 hours will be able to enter the temple premises, said TDB officials.
The temple will be closed once again as soon as the monthly puja rituals end on July 21.
On Thursday, Kerala reported as many as 13,773 new COVID-19 cases and a high test positivity rate (TPR) of 10.95, according to the data released by the state's health ministry. The state also reported 87 deaths, taking total fatalities to 15,025 so far.