A large number of devotees visited and offered prayers before Bhagwan Ayyappa at the Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta on Sunday, December 17, 2023. The hill shrine is witnessing a heavy rush of devotees following the Mandalam-Makaravilakku season, which began on November 17 this year.
Amid the ongoing season, controversy also erupted over the mismanagement at Sabarimala temple, leading to long waiting hours and queues for devotees ahead of offering prayers before Lord Ayyappa. Earlier, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy also wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday, requesting him to deploy adequate personnel and staff at Sabarimala temple to reduce waiting time for devotees.
In the letter, the Union Minister has requested that Vijayan ensure that basic amenities such as food, water, sanitation, and medical facilities are provided to devotees. The Union Minister requested that he address the inconveniences being faced by Lord Ayyappa devotees during their pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple.
Taking to his social media handle X, Reddy posted, “Wrote a letter to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan to address issues and inconveniences being faced by the Lord Ayyappa devotees during their pilgrimage to Sabarimala. I also requested to ensure adequate staff and personnel, safe and secure passage, improved basic amenities and medical assistance during their journey to Sabarimala.”
In his letter to the Kerala Chief Minister, Reddy wrote, “The Sabarimala Temple and the associated 40-day spiritual journey undertaken by the devotees of Lord Ayyappa are considered to be one of the most revered belief systems within the Hindu faith.”
“You would be aware that every year close to 1 crore devotees visit Sabarimala, with a majority of them paying their respects to Lord Ayyappa during the Mandala season between November and January. Devotees from the Telugu states of Telangana, where I hail from, and Andhra Pradesh account for more than 15 lakh devotees,” it read.
It has come to my attention first-hand from Ayyappa Swami bhaktas and through various news reports of the severe inconveniences being faced by devotees due to long wait times at the Sannidhanam. The recent death of a young girl while waiting to avail of darshan has also caused much anguish and pain, the Union Minister said.
“I would also like to request that you consider permitting NGOs that are ready to provide assistance to operate on the temple premises and around the trekking path from Pampa to Sannidhanam,” it stated.
Reddy further requested a swift response and urged the Kerala CM to take all necessary action in the matter.