The administration in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district issued an order on Friday, prohibiting Saturday's pilgrimage to the famous Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala in the wake of continuous rainfall and the rising water levels in major rivers, including Pamba.
"In the wake of the continuous rainfall received in Pathanamthitta district, rising water levels in Pamba river and owing to the red alert status in both Kakki-Anathode reservoir (gates open) and Pamba dam, in order to ensure safety of pilgrims, it is hereby declared that the pilgrimage to Pamba and Sabarimala tomorrow (20-11-2021) is prohibited," the order issued by District Collector Divya S Iyer said.
She said the pilgrims who have booked a slot via the virtual queue system will be given an opportunity for "darshan" in the nearest possible slot once the weather conditions turn conducive.
"We request the pilgrims to cooperate by not undertaking the journey during this time," the order said.
Braving inclement weather conditions and the COVID-19 situation, hundreds of devotees have been trekking the hills to offer prayers at the Ayyappa temple since it opened on November 16 for the two-month-long annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season.
Like the previous year, the devotees are being allowed through a virtual queue system this time also as part of efforts to regulate the flow of pilgrims in view of the pandemic and heavy rains.