Sabarimala: Booking for Sabarimala Temple ritual began on Sunday (October 11), and keeping in mind Covid-19 protocols, pilgrims from other states will have to register on virtual queue.

The Kerala government gave permission for pilgrims to be allowed at the Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala for the five-day puja in mid-October and from 16 November, for the two-month Mandala-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.

Earlier in June, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) had decided that Kerala’s Sabarimala temple will not be open for the public for the monthly prayers.

The expert committee constituted by the Kerala government to suggest measures for the safe conduct of  Sabarimala pilgrimage during Covid-19 pandemic this season, has recommended that only 1000 devotees each should be allowed to climb up to the hill shrine on week days and two thousand each on Saturday and Sunday.

The expert committee has made Covid-19 negative certificates mandatory for each devotee visiting the temple during the annual mandala-makaravilakku pilgrimage season.  All devotees including those coming from other states with Covid negative certificate will be subjected to another test at the entry points at Nilakkal. All testing and screening activities will be carried out at the Sabarimala base camp at Nilakkal.

The temple will be open for pilgrims during the five-day puja at the start of Malayalam month Thulam, which begins from 17 October. Then, the temple will open again for the Mandala puja which is on 26 December and the temple will close on 27 December after the 41-day Mandala pilgrimage season. It will open again on 30 December for the Makaravilakku pilgrimage season, which is on 14 January 2021 and the temple will close on 20 January 2021.