Usually five to six lakh pilgrims throng the hill temple on Makara Vilakku day marking the end of the pilgrimage season, but this time policemen and officials outnumbered pilgrims. (ANI PHOTO).
Usually five to six lakh pilgrims throng the hill temple on Makara Vilakku day marking the end of the pilgrimage season, but this time policemen and officials outnumbered pilgrims. (ANI PHOTO).

Sabarimala sees subdued ‘Makara Vilakku’, cash-strapped temple seeks govt help

  • The meagre footfall at the temple has drained the plush coffers of the temple and it has asked the government for a bail-out package.
By Ramesh Babu | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 09:55 PM IST

With just 5,000 pilgrims offering prayers on Makara Vilakku, the most auspicious day in the annual pilgrimage season of Sabarimala hill temple in Kerala, the busy festival wore a subdued look as the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on the country’s largest seasonal pilgrimage. Usually five to six lakh pilgrims throng the hill temple on Makara Vilakku day marking the end of the pilgrimage season, but this time policemen and officials outnumbered pilgrims.

The state government has restricted the number to 5.000 due to Covid-19 and put severe conditions on pilgrims. Though the cash-strapped Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), which runs the temple asked the government to hike the number to 20,000 the government has turned the request down considering the surge of Covid-19 cases.

Once lauded for its Covid-19 control management, the state has turned a virus hotspot since last month. On Thursday, it reported 5,490 new cases with a test positivity rate of 8.11%. The active caseload in the state is 66,503-- now at least one-fourth of the total cases in the country are from Kerala, latest statistics show.

The meagre footfall at the temple has drained the plush coffers of the temple and it has asked the government for a bail-out package. “Our total revenue reduced by 20 per cent when compared to the last few years. We have approached the government for 100 crore to tide over the crisis,” said TDB president N Vasu. He said usually Sabarimala revenue was pumped to fund other temples in Travancore region (south Kerala) and low returns have affected even salaries of the employees.

During the last pilgrimage season— November 2019 to January 2020—the total revenue of the temple was 263.57 crore. Aravana payasam -- a black kheer made of rice, jaggery, ghee and cardamom-- forms 60 per cent of the temple revenue. But this time it was reduced to 20 per cent and in the last two weeks the revenue was 15 crore, said Vasu adding it was less than a single-day revenue during the normal season.

Pilgrims from five south Indian states swarm the temple nestled in the Western Ghats in Pathanamitta district during the annual season and it is often considered the largest seasonal pilgrimage after Mecca. During peak season at least 5 lakh pilgrims trek to the shrine on a day, temple statistics show.

The temple had witnessed unrest in 2018 after the Supreme Court opened its doors for women of all ages-- women of reproductive age are barred at the temple citing the eternal celibate status (naishtika brahmachari) of the deity, Lord Ayyappa. A larger bench of the SC is hearing the case now.

Pilgrimage to the temple is unique in many ways-- a secular temple, all are welcome here. There is a small mosque at the hilltop (Vavar Swami, considered a disciple of presiding deity Lord Ayyappa) and devotees will have to pay obeisance there before entering the sanctum sanctorum. A devotee will have to take a 40-day fast abstaining from all worldly affairs and he will be known as ‘Swami’ once he puts the black bead and dress. At the top of the temple there is an inscription in Malayalam ‘Tatvamasi’, which translates “I am you”.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s memorial in Chennai. (HT FILE PHOTO).
Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s memorial in Chennai. (HT FILE PHOTO).

Jayalalithaa’s residence: Madras HC allows state to hold event on January 28

By Divya Chandrababu
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:44 AM IST
  • Even though the case was posted for February 4, the court heard the case on Wednesday based on the request of the former Tamil Nadu CM's family.
Close
The court said there were 189 proposals regarding appointments pending with the government as on December 31.(Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times)
The court said there were 189 proposals regarding appointments pending with the government as on December 31.(Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times)

Fix timeline for judicial appointments, says SC

By Utkarsh Anand, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:40 AM IST
  • An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that all endeavours should be made to ensure appointments come through in a time-bound manner.
Close
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari made the allegations at a public rally in Jhargram on Wednesday. (ANI PHOTO).
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari made the allegations at a public rally in Jhargram on Wednesday. (ANI PHOTO).

TMC rigged the 2018 panchayat polls, alleges Suvendu Adhikari

PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:26 AM IST
  • The TMC, however, has hit back calling it the height of hypocrisy and refuting the charges as baseless allegations.
Close
Security personnel guard Red Fort a day after protesters stormed the monument. (PTI)
Security personnel guard Red Fort a day after protesters stormed the monument. (PTI)

Cracks in stir after mayhem; farmers call off Feb 1 march

By Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:22 AM IST
  • Leaders of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the platform of farm unions leading the protests, on Wednesday apologised for the violent events in Delhi that have dented the credibility of the movement.
Close
France’s ecological transition minister Barbara Pompili, whose post is considered number two in the government, will begin her visit to India on Thursday. (TWITTER/@barbarapompili)
France’s ecological transition minister Barbara Pompili, whose post is considered number two in the government, will begin her visit to India on Thursday. (TWITTER/@barbarapompili)

India, France to sign two agreements during French minister's 5-day visit

By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sohini Sarkar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:03 AM IST
  • Singh and Pompili will preside over the signing of a letter of intent between the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the French Development Agency (AFD) for developing a floating solar plant of up to 150 MW.
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Twitter suspends at least 500 accounts for ‘spam, manipulation’

PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 12:14 AM IST
New Delhi: Microblogging website Twitter on Wednesday took down at least 500 accounts for “spam and platform manipulation”, as the fall out of the farmers’ tractor rally that turned violent in Delhi on Tuesday
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Govt indicates offer to farmers still on table, channel for talks kept open

PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 12:13 AM IST
NEW DELHI Although the farmers’ protest march on Republic Day took a violent turn, leaving many police personnel injured and leading to the destruction of public property, government managers indicated on Wednesday that the Centre will keep its communication channels with farm unions open and its offer to put the three controversial agricultural laws in abeyance for 18 months will stay
Close
HT Image
HT Image

Punjab villages sombre after clash, still back stir

By Anil Sharma, Navrajdeep Singh, Avtar Singh and Mohit Khanna
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 12:13 AM IST
Tarn Taran/Patiala/Sangrur/ludhiana Located roughly six kilometers from the holy city of Tarn Taran in northern Punjab, Piddi village has been in the limelight for decades as the home of Satnam Singh Pannu, a 65-year-old farm leader who founded the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC), an organisation of farmers and labourers with sway in the Majha region
Close
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan displays a vial of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Saturday.(Bloomberg Photo )
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan displays a vial of Bharat Biotech Ltd. Covaxin at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Saturday.(Bloomberg Photo )

Covaxin effective on UK virus strain of Covid-19, says ICMR

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:45 PM IST
An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study on Covaxin shows a comparable neutralization activity of the vaccinated individuals against UK-variant strain.
Close
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a Duare Sarkar programme at Nabanna, state secretariat, in Kolkata, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_27_2021_000174B)(PTI)
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a Duare Sarkar programme at Nabanna, state secretariat, in Kolkata, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (PTI Photo) (PTI01_27_2021_000174B)(PTI)

Mamata Banerjee to meet select TMC leaders amid dissent among section of MLAs

UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:29 PM IST
  • Mamata Banerjee has recently appointed coordinators for the five assembly constituencies in East Midnapore district, the home turf of former TMC stalwart Suvendu Adhikari who joined the BJP on December 19.
Close
A healthcare worker gets a Covid-19 vaccine at Sion Hospital, in Mumbai on Saturday. (ANI Photo)
A healthcare worker gets a Covid-19 vaccine at Sion Hospital, in Mumbai on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

MHA issues Covid-19 rules, to be followed from Feb 1: All you need to know

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:21 PM IST
In the fresh set of guidelines, which will remain in force till February 28, the MHA has allowed entry of all in swimming pools, which were previously opened for sportsperson only, and allowed cinema halls to increase the ceiling on people indoors.
Close
Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced hefty cash incentives to gram panchayats who elect their leaders without any contest. (PTI PHOTO).
Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced hefty cash incentives to gram panchayats who elect their leaders without any contest. (PTI PHOTO).

Jagan Reddy announces cash incentives for unanimous polls to gram panchayats

PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:11 PM IST
  • As part of the strategy, the Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday issued an order announcing hefty cash incentives to be given to gram panchayats where sarpanches and ward members are elected unanimously without any contest.
Close
Prime Minister Modi will address the Forum's Davos Dialogue on January 28 via video conferencing, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.(Photo: BJP4India/ Twitter)
Prime Minister Modi will address the Forum's Davos Dialogue on January 28 via video conferencing, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.(Photo: BJP4India/ Twitter)

PM Modi to address World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda Summit tomorrow

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Arpan Rai, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:11 PM IST
The PM will be speaking on a range of subjects, including India's reform trajectory and increased usage of technology.
Close
In a tweet, Rajnath Singh said the firm commitment to deepen India-US defence cooperation was reiterated during the talks. (ANI File Photo)
In a tweet, Rajnath Singh said the firm commitment to deepen India-US defence cooperation was reiterated during the talks. (ANI File Photo)

Rajnath Singh speaks to US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 11:10 PM IST
  • The defence ministry said Rajnath Singh received an "introductory telephone call" from the newly-appointed US Secretary of Defence Austin and that the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to work together to strengthen defence cooperation and the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Close
An illuminated view of Victoria Memorial on the occasion of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 125th birth anniversary in Kolkata.(ANI)
An illuminated view of Victoria Memorial on the occasion of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 125th birth anniversary in Kolkata.(ANI)

Multimedia exhibition on Netaji at Victoria Memorial

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 27, 2021 10:59 PM IST
The exhibition contains 125 stories on Netaji to commemorate his 125th birth anniversary.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP