After a lull, long queues, packed crowds return to Sabarimala
After a 20-day lull since the annual pilgrim season began, long queues and packed crowds are back at the Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, which had witnessed a drastic dip in pilgrim arrivals in the initial weeks, news agency PTI quoted temple officials as saying.
The lifting of restrictions imposed by the police and ease in tension that had prevailed at the shrine, following protests against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict, permitting women of all age groups, have triggered high inflow of devotees after the initial lull.
According to temple sources, over 85,126 pilgrims visited the hill top temple on Friday alone, indicating a steady increase in the footfalls.
While the head count was 79,306 on December 3, it was 61,037 on December 4 and 51,335 on December 5, as per the figures.
Over 45,000 pilgrims had visited the Lord Ayyappa temple on December 6, the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition day, though there had been extra vigil and additional security arrangements at the temple complex. Unlike previous years, the temple wore a deserted look for many days after it opened for the over two-month-long monthly pilgrim season on November 16.