With just hours left for the start of the annual pilgrimage to the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa, the sacred grove of Sabarimala is buzzing with hectic preparations for the smooth conduct of the two-month long annual pilgrimage. Traders have pitched temporary sheds to open refreshment stalls and other make-shift shops at the pilgrims’ main base camp at Nilackal, Pampa and at select points along the Pampa-Sannidhanam trekking path.
Resting place for pilgrims
TDB has prepared a 20,000 sq ft area facing the Maramath complex at the Sannidhanam for the pilgrims to use as their resting place during the pilgrim season. The well-designed resting place could accommodate not less than 25,000 people for the Makarajyoti darshan too.
This year, roofing work along the pilgrims’ path from Neelimala to Appachimedu has almost been completed. The queue complexes at Sabaripeedhom and Saramkuthi too have been completed.
Additional parking lots at Nilackal
Though the completion of the additional vehicle parking lots at the Nilackal base camp was expected before the beginning of the pilgrim season, the launching of the project was delayed due to bad weather. This year too, the pilgrims have to satisfy with the vehicle parking space that they had availed during the previous pilgrim season at Nilackal.
Two more vehicle parking lots have been prepared at Nilackal to meet the increasing demand for the same this year.
More than 3500 toilets will be made available at the Sannidhanam, Pampa and Nilackal for the use of pilgrims.
Widening work on the Swami Ayyappan Road as well as the Appachimedu-Neelimala stretch of the trekking path has also been completed. The lighting work is fast progressing at Nilackal, Pampa, Sannidhanam and on the trekking path.
The Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom stretcher service headed by Mr Thanchavur Damodaran is gearing up to start operations from its main camp at the Sannidhanam.
The buffer stock of Aravana has crossed 32 lakh tins. The TDB is planning to keep a buffer stock of 35 lakh cans of Aravana by the time the temple opens for the pilgrim season on Thursday afternoon.