As the annual ‘Mandala Puja’ inches closer, the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala has been witnessing a heavy rush of devotees.
This is amid the assessment that over one lakh pilgrims visited the hill top temple.
Even as a steady inflow of pilgrims was seen at Sabarimala in recent days, it need be mentioned that prohibitory orders are still in place.
“As many as 1,12,260 devotees have visited the shrine and offered prayers on Friday. It is the highest head count after the annual season began this year,” the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) said in a statement.
The pilgrim rush is expected to increase manifold in the coming days, it said. Marking the culmination of the 41-day ‘vratha’ (penance), Mandala Puja, the first phase of the Sabarimala pilgrimage, would be held on December 27 at the Lord Ayyappa temple.
It is to be noted thus that close to a group of 50 women, all below the age of 50 years, are expected to visit Sabarimala on Sunday.
They will be making it there under the aegis of ‘Manithi’, which is a Chennai-based outfit.
The women have now decided to go after the top court recently lifted the ban on women in the age group of 10 and 50 visiting the shrine.
Kerala had witnessed massive protests by devotees opposing the entry of girls and women in the 10-50 age group into the Sabarimala temple since the Kerala government decided to implement the Supreme Court order.>