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Sabarimala temple to open for monthly rituals from today, but conditions apply

Lord Ayappa temple in Kerala’s Sabarimala would be opened for its monthly puja rituals from July 17 to 21. No more than 5,000 devotees will be allowed, all of who must produce their negative Covid-19 test reports issued within the past 48 hours.

Sabarimala temple in Kerala, which remained inaccessible to devotees for months due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related restrictions, will be reopening its doors from Friday, July 16, and pilgrims will be allowed to enter the shrine from Saturday morning. Officials have already been instructed to enforce appropriate behaviour in the temple premises, including the use of masks, sanitisers and proper social distancing in accordance with the Covid-19 safety guidance issued by the central and state governments.

Lord Ayappa temple in Kerala’s Sabarimala would be opened for its monthly puja rituals from July 17 to 21, said officials familiar with the matter. Although the temple kept opening for a couple of days every month for monthly rituals even during the Covid-19 necessitated lockdown, devotees were not permitted for a darshan at the hill shrine.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), the top body in the southern state which manages over 1,200 temples, ensured that shrines under its management would not permit devotees in its premises during the lockdown period. However, daily rituals were conducted without fail, according to TDB authorities in the know.

The Sabarimala temple has imposed a number of conditions for devotees wishing to attend the monthly rituals on its premises from Friday onwards. No more than 5,000 devotees, who have booked their slots through the online queue, will be allowed for the darshan. Moreover, only those pilgrims who can produce their negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test reports issued within the past 48 hours will be able to enter the temple premises, said TDB officials.

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