First time in history, Sabarimala temple drops annual festival

South India

For the first time in its history, this year’s 10-day annual festival at the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple has been dropped due to COVID-19 pandemic. The monthly pooja will be held as usual, but sans the devotees.  

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting held between the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the temple, and the temple’s high priest Thantri Kandararu Mohanaru on Thursday.

Announcing the decision, TDB president N Vasu said that the shrine will continue to remain closed to devotees in the present scenario. The monthly pooja will also be conducted behind closed doors. Devotees from all over Kerala and the southern states throng the hill shrine for the festival as well as the monthly pooja.

The history of the 10-day annual temple festival at Sabarimala traces back to the installation of the holy mast at the Ayyappa Temple premises in 1965. The festival was scheduled to begin with the customary kodiyettu ceremony on March 29 to culminate with the ceremonial Aratt in river Pampa on April 7.

However, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) postponed the festival to a later date following the nationwide lockdown declared by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an effort to contain the disease.

“We have decided to not hold the 10-day annual temple festival now, which is usually held in the month of Meenam, but got postponed once due to the pandemic,” Vasu added.

Image Credit: News Minute

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