Thiruvananthapuram: About seven months after it was closed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday as of Friday, the doors of the temple of Sabarimala were opened to devotees, although with some restrictions. While visiting the temple, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made it mandatory to bear a COVID-19 negative certificate, while only 250 people are permitted to visit the temple per day for darshan. Devotees have begun thronging the temple following the COVID-19 guidelines. Only 250 individuals will be allowed on a single day, as per the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), and booking will be done on a first-come-first - serve basis. A queue booking portal has been opened to the public.
In accordance with the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, devotees will ascend and descend through Swami Ayyappan Road, while special marks have been drawn for devotees at Sannidhanam. "At Sabarimala, there would be no accommodation for devotees. Udayasthamana and Padi poojas, however, will be conducted in addition to the daily poojas,' the TDB said. The TBD added that toilet and bathroom facilities were set up in Pampa, Nilakkal and Sannidhanam, while sanitisers, soap and water were arranged at different points. On Friday, in Kerala, a total of 7,283 new COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths were registered, 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 so far.