A 11-year-old girl, Padmasree, who collapsed while waiting for darshan at Appachimedu in Sabarimala died at Pampa hospital on Saturday (09-12-23). The young girl, daughter of Kumaran and Jayalakshmi from Salem in Tamil Nadu is the victim of Devaswom Board’s inefficient administration. It is sad and highly condemnable that a young girl visiting the Sabarimala temple died in an uncontrollable stampede at the Sannidhanam in Appachimet.
Apathy Towards Devotees
For the anti-Hindu and subversive Devaswom Board, and the leftist Government, Sabarimala has little use beyond the money it generates. They have little regard for the devotees and their convenience. Providing necessary facilities for Hindu devotees doesn’t seem to be a priority with them. Despite knowing full well that crores of devotees will arrive, Government decided not make preparations in advance.
Recently, on December 7, 2023, I visited Sabarimala with my eight-year-old daughter Malikappuram. The virtual queue system introduced by the State Government is just a farce. The entire mechanism of crowd management is in shambles. Taking into consideration the number that can visit in one hour slot, if only that many people are allowed to pass, it will reduce the chaos. If people are transported from Pampa to Sannidhanam only by virtual queue, the congestion at Sannidhanam can be also be controlled. Those who come without advance booking should do spot booking at Pampa and only then let them pass. Why is it that old men, women and children have to walk up and down the mountains for kilometers (approx. 5 KM)? Why torture the devotees in vain?
Arriving at the footpath at 12:45, we were detained till 5pm in Sannidhanam Temple’s Nadapanthal (Hall), saying that the temple was closed at one o’clock. Children and the elderly were held captive in this cage for hours without being able to eat, perform their basic needs, breathe calmly, sit or rest. Since many places in the latter queue paths had no roofs, devotees were forced to go to the temple drenched in heavy rains.
Heavy-handed Policing and Devaswom Board
It has been alleged that after stopping the devotees, the police and Devaswom staff let their relatives and friends pass through without waiting in Queue and proper permission. Aravana Payasam given as prasad at Sabarimala costs Rs.100/- per tin, while 10 tins are sold at Rs.1010/-. Devaswom Board defrauds the Ayyappa devotees by extra Rs. 10/- from each bundle.
The Swami Ayyappan Road to return to Pampa after darshan is actually a road of deathly agony. Cement, metal and soil are not properly used for road concreting. The road is laden with sharp metals as the cement mixture has been washed away by the rains. For barefooted devotees, the steep descent is hellish. The Devaswom Board, which earns hundreds of crores by looting the devotees, should make this road passable and arrange handrails on the sides, benches for rest etc. urgently.
Making Pilgrimage Affordable
Strict measures should be taken to publish price lists, conduct quality checks and issue bills in hotels and shops. The use of footwear by the police and others should be prohibited in Pampa Ganapati temple grounds and other sub-deity temple premises.
In the name of saving KSRTC which is facing big loss due to inefficiency, KSRTC monopoly on Nilaykal-Pamba route should be stopped and all vehicles should be allowed to transport Hindu devotees till Pampa. The Nilackal – Pampa and Erumeli-Pampa roads widths should widen urgently. Similarly, expanded parking space should be provided for private vehicles in Pampa. KSRTC which provides free travel to Hajj pilgrims etc. should stop charging 30 per cent extra from Sabarimala pilgrims. It is objectionable that even the old buses carry a special service board and charge exorbitant charges.
Tinkering with Tradition
To manage the crowd at Sabarimala, the evening darshan time has been extended by one hour. Was the darshan time in the temple increased considering the temple Tantri (Hindu Priest) and Deva’s will? No wonder the darshan hours are extended to 24 hours without observing any temple rituals to generate revenue for the Devaswom and government. Anti-Hindu and atheist rulers consider the Hindu temples as secular museums. Sabarimala should not be seen only as a milking cow to make money by using any tricks. Scientific measures should be found and effectively implemented to control the crowd without unnecessarily increasing the darshan time.
Hindu organisations should start legal wars, protest and agitate against the Left-wing slave Devaswom Board and Government who have turned Sabarimala into a money-making centre and are doing harm to Hindu rituals and devotees. Central Government should take immediate action to make strong laws to free all temples from Government rules and totalitarianism. The management of the temples should be transferred to Hindu devotees as early as possible.