More than 500 women in the age group of 10-50 enroll for Ayyappa Darshan
According to the latest update morethan 500 women in the age-group of 10-50 years have enrolled to have a ‘darshan’ of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala temple when it opens for a three-month period from November 17.
As has been mentioned earlier Kerala police had launched a new portal sabarimalaq.com to control pilgrims during the three-month season. And according to the police more than 3.5 lakh devotees have registered themselves on the site so far and there are 560 are women in the age group of 10 -50.
Kerala police has said that with the onset of Karthika masam and the beginning the 41-day Mandalam-Makaravilakku season devotees will throng the temple in lakhs per day and stand in que for 6 to 8 hours, and to ensure the quick darshan and atleast reduce the unnecessary queues they have started this portal.
According to the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), which runs the temple, at least 16 lakh pilgrims availed the virtual queue facility last year. Once an individual registers using any government-issued identity card and provides other details, the pilgrim will get a slip mentioning the timing of the trek from base camp Pamba and there is a separate queue for online pilgrims. The virtual queue is a free service.
Although the Supreme Court has allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, No women has been able to enter the temple though more than 15 women had come forward when the temple was opened twice because of protests from devotees and opposition from the temple’s Thanthi.
With only few days left for the annual pilgrimage season, all eyes are on the Supreme Court which is taking up on November 13 review petitions against its verdict but political outfits are in a race to exploit the emotional issue. However, many including the police hope that the top court will give reasonable time for implementing the order.
Meanwhile Kerala police are reportedly mulling over the use of helicopters to transport women devotees from Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram to Sabarimala in order to spare them the attacks of protesters who are expected to gather there to stop women from entering the temple, according to The Hindu. The Sabarimala temple is set to reopen on 17 November for the 41-day Mandalam-Makaravilakku season, reported the popular news portal The News Minute.
But other reports suggest that such a development may not be true as helicopters are usually deployed only in cases of emergency where evacuation of devotees are required. If they do plan to use helicopters, the Kerala police will have to obtain permission from the Forest Department to use a landing spot.