Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 14 (PTI): The famous Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala is all set to open its portals for devotees with the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku festival beginning on November 17.
The hill shrine, nestled inside the deep forests in Pathanamthitta district, and its premises would reverberate with the holy chants of Lord Ayyappa for two months starting Friday, the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam.
State Devaswom Minister K Radhakrishnan said on Tuesday that all arrangements have been made for the smooth annual pilgrimage at the Ayyappa temple.
Steps have been taken to ensure a safe and smooth pilgrimage for all devotees, and the support of advanced technologies has been used for the same, he said here.
Detailing various measures taken by the government in this regard, the minister said six high-level meetings, including two attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, were held to review the preparations for the festival.
The daily wage of "vishudhi sena" members engaged in sanitation works in Sabarimala and Pamba has been hiked to Rs 550 from Rs 450.
Their travel allowance was also increased from Rs 850 to Rs 1000, he said.
A dynamic queue control system has been introduced this season to manage crowding at Sannidhanam, the temple complex.
Apart from this, a video wall will also be set up at Nilakkal, Pampa, and Sannidhanam to inform devotees about the rush, Radhakrishnan said, adding that the "E-kanikka (E-offering)" facility has been made more comprehensive this year.
He noted that emergency health centres have been set up at 15 places on the route between Pampa and Sannidhanam.
He urged the management of other shrines to share their various facilities with Sabarimala devotees.
The minister also requested everyone to make the Sabarimala pilgrimage a model for the entire nation. PTI LGK ROH