The expert committee constituted by the Kerala government to suggest measures for the safe conduct of Sabarimala pilgrimage during Covid – 19 pandemic this season, has recommended that only 1000 devotees each should be allowed to climb up to the hill shrine on week days and two thousand each on Saturday and Sunday.
The expert committee has made Covid – 19 negative certificates mandatory for each devotee visiting the temple during the annual mandala-makaravilakku pilgrimage season . All devotees including those coming from other states with Covid negative certificate will b e subjected to another test at the entry points at Nilakkal. All testing and screening activities will be carried out at the Sabarimala base camp at Nilakkal.
The high level expert committee was headed by chief secretary with state police chief, home secretary , devaswom principal secretary, health secretary and forest secretary as members.
The mandala-makaravilakku season will begin in November this year.
Devotees should carry reports to certify that they are not above 60 year of age and do not have any chronic ailments. Devaswom Minister Kadakkamapally Surendran said though the expert committee had submitted detailed recommendations, the state government will take a final decision only after examining these in minutely.
The weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday will examine the recommendations of the expert committee.
The chief minister had stated earlier that nothwithstanding the Covid safety protocol, all rituals, ceremonies and pujas at the temple will be held as usual. A majority of pilgrims come from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Devaswom minister Kadkampally Surendran will hold discussions with his counter parts in the neighboring states to brief them about the Covid safety norms and restrictions being imposed this time and seek their cooperation in the matter.