Sabarimala temple reopens; COVID-19 negative certificate must for entry

South India
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Devotees visiting the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala's Sabarimala will have to carry a negative Covid-19 certificate of test conducted 48 hours prior to their arrival,

 

Around seven months after it was closed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the doors of Sabarimala temple were open for devotees from Friday, albeit with certain restrictions.

Entry to the hill shrine was barred owing to the nationwide lockdown first enforced on March 24 to curb the spread of Covid-19.

While the shrine opened at 5 pm on Friday, devotees allowed to enter only after 5 am on Saturday morning.

Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that devotees will have to book 'darshan' time using the virtual queue system. He added that those looking to visit the hill shrine will have to carry Covid-19 negative certificates and health certificates.

Pilgrims will have to produce Covid-19 negative certificates of tests conducted 48 hours prior to their arrival at the shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala.

According to information made public by the TDB and the Kerala government, only 250 devotees will be allowed to pray at the hill shrine in Sabarimala each day. They will also be asked to carry masks, sanitisers and gloves.

Apart from the deployment of additional police personnel, medical staff has also been stationed at hospitals in Nilackal, Pamba and Sannidhanam as a precaution.

There will be no accommodation for devotees at Sabarimala. Devotees will also have to abide by all social-distancing norms at the shrine.

Devotees will ascend and descend through Swami Ayyappan Road, while special marks have been drawn for devotees at Sannidhanam, in accordance with the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. 

The shrine will open on October 17 for five-day monthly pujas. October 17 also marks the first day of Malayalam month ‘Thulam’.

A total of 7,283 new COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths were reported in Kerala on Friday, taking the total number of active cases to 95,008 in the state.

So far, 2,28,998 people have recovered in the state. The total COVID-19 death toll in the state is 1,113.

 

With inputs from Agency

 

 

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