At the crack of dawn on Friday, the renowned Sabarimala temple witnessed an influx of devotees, hailing primarily from Kerala and the neighboring southern states, all eager to pay their respects to Lord Ayyappa. With the commencement of the two-month-long pilgrimage to the hill shrine, thousands of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka patiently lined up at the Sannidhanam, patiently awaiting the opening of the temple doors by priests at 3 am. This significant event coincided with the beginning of the auspicious Malayalam month of Vrichikam.
The sanctum sanctorum had already been opened the previous day, under the guidance of the temple's head priest, Mahesh Mohanaru, marking the start of the pilgrim season. Taking charge as the new chief priests of the Sabarimala and Malikappuram temples, P N Mahesh and P G Murali will be responsible for performing the rituals at the shrine for the next year. To ensure the safety and convenience of all devotees, the authorities have implemented measures and utilized advanced technologies. This season, a dynamic queue control system has been introduced at Sannidhanam to effectively manage the crowds.
The KSRTC has arranged for 200 buses to facilitate transportation in the Pampa-Nilakkal route, catering to both Low floor AC and non AC buses. The regular service timings of 7 am and 3.40 pm will be adhered to in the areas of Naranamthod, Atthamod, Kanamala, Tulapally, and Pambavali, as reported on onmanorama.com. In order to ensure a smooth and secure pilgrimage to the Lord Ayyappa shrine at Sabarimala, various security measures such as drones, CCTV cameras, and a force of 13,000 police personnel have been implemented. Furthermore, emergency health centers have been established at 15 locations between Pampa and Sannidhanam.