With reports of the famed Sabarimala pilgrimage coming to a standstill due to poor facilities, the BJP slammed the CPI-M led Pinarayi Vijayan Government for doing this on purpose and the Congress-led UDF MPs raised slogans like ‘Save Sabarimala’ and ‘Justice for pilgrims’.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan, slammed the Communist government for creating hardships for pilgrims by failing to provide good facilities at the famed temple town.
“Everyone knows that the Communists are out to finish off Sabarimala as that’s their ideology. Ever since the present (two-month-long) season began, the pilgrims have been under suffering due to the lack of facilities.
“We all know that this pilgrimage is not something that has started recently, it has been the most popular pilgrimage destination from centuries. The government is out to finish this temple,” said Muraleedharan.
In the last five days there has been an unprecedented rush, with more than 80,000 pilgrims arriving in the temple town. While the normal waiting time for darshan is around 5 to 6 hours, for the last few days it is taking about 15 to 20 hours, resulting in major suffering for many pilgrims.
The Congress leadership has been flaying the Vijayan administration for not ensuring a smooth pilgrimage and on Tuesday morning angry Congress-led UDF MPs shouted slogans and demanded better facilities for Sabarimala and the pilgrims going there.
On Tuesday angry Youth Congress workers barged into the office of the Travancore Devaswom Board (the body that manages the Sabarimala temple) demanding immediate intervention of the state government.
The Opposition pointed out that there is a total administrative breakdown at the temple town even as the entire Vijayan government is on a statewide bus trip from November 27 onwards. The Ministers will be back in their offices only on Christmas Eve.
However, State Minister for Devaswom, K Radhakrishnan brushed aside all the allegations and said the claims of the Opposition were stage-managed for political gains.
“This season there has been a huge influx of pilgrims and hence there is a rush at the temple town. The authorities have done everything possible to provide them all the necessary support. We have now decided to reduce the darshan queue booking to 10,000 every day and also to bring down the number of spot bookings for darshan,” said Radhakrishnan.
The first phase of the season ends on December 27 and reopens again on December 30 for the second phase. Situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 meters above sea level, Sabarimala temple is four kilometers uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district, which is around 100 kms from the capital city.
The temple, which bars the entry of women who have attained puberty, is accessible only on foot from Pamba. Every pilgrim carries with him a kit — ‘lrumudi’, which contains coconuts that are broken just before climbing the 18 steps. A pilgrim carries ‘lrumudi’ on his head during the pilgrimage and without it none is allowed to step onto the holy 18 steps at the Sannidhanam.
Credits: Hindu Post (The headline is modified)