Floral welcome at Sabarimala on new year

The Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala was decorated with flowers — an offering from a devotee from Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu — on Saturday, the New Year day.

Devaswom sources said the devotee, Ravisankar, had used flowers worth Rs.2.5 lakh for the decoration.

Tens of thousands of devotees came to Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Saturday for ‘darshan.’

Police had to block the pilgrims at Pampa, on the foothills of Sabarimala, every three hours to ease pressure at the hillock. Pilgrims had to wait for hours together within iron barricades on the trekking path even beyond Sabaripeedhom, three kilometres away from the Sannidhanam. The Fire and Rescue Services and the police removed the tree that had fallen in the heavy rain on the trekking path at Saramkuthi, on Friday night.

A seven-year-old pilgrim, Midhun from Jagathy in Thiruvananthapuram, died of pneumonia at the government hospital at Sabarimala on Saturday.

Another pilgrim, K. Thankavel, 54, of Chathamangalam near Nenmara, died of cardiac arrest at the Cardiology Centre at Appachimedu on Saturday.

The Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom volunteers shifted both the bodies to Pampa, later.

Union Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa reached Pampa on his pilgrimage to the Ayyappa Temple on Saturday evening.