Ayyappa devotees planning to go on a pilgrimage to Sabarimala are set to find the trip this time challenging, with the trek up from Pamba set to be more arduous than in the previous years. Pamba in the foothills of Sabarimala from where Ayyappa devotees trek up to the temple has been one of the worst affected by the recent deluge and torrential rains in Kerala.
Malayalam daily Manorama reported that pilgrims would face damaged and blocked roads and damaged public facilities such as toilets and resting sheds this time as opening of the dams on Pamba resulted in the river washing away many bridges and buildings. Two rivers - Pamba and Kakki - have changed courses and buildings, pathways and bridges which dotted Pamba are buried in heaps of sands.
A resting centre - Ramamoorthi Mandapam - that was on the banks of Pamba has been totally washed away and officials are finding it tough to reach the 100-odd people, including priests and temple employees, living in the pilgrim centre. The road to Pamba has caved in at many places including the main bus stand at Pamba with a couple of bridges being damaged and a couple of government offices having been buried in sand.
The daily said it could take several months before the route to Sabarimala can be restored.
The main or the ‘mandala pooja’ season for Sabarimala begins on 25 November and extends till 31 December. The temple will be open during the entire period and then reopen for the Makaravilaku pooja in January.
Reports of damage from Sabarimala mean that all the construction works the Kerala government had carried on over the last few years to make it comfortable for the devotees have all been affected.
Recent floods in Kerala following torrential rains resulted in 80 of dams in the state being opened after getting filled to the brim. Rains and floods have claimed nearly 375 lives since 29 May when the south-west monsoon set in and over three lakh homes, 10,000 of roads damaged. The Kerala government has estimated the loss at over Rs 20,000 crore.
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