Thiruvananthapuram, October 29: The annual two-month-long festival season of the famed Sabarimala temple in Kerala begins on November 15. Ahead of the festival season, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has said pilgrims in limited numbers will be allowed to visit Sabarimala temple. Based on the coronavirus situation, the TDB said, pilgrims may be asked to produce COVID-19 negative test report. Coronavirus Outbreak in Kerala: Don't Visit Sabarimala Temple, Appeals TDB Chief After Six More Test Positive For COVID-19.

"Pilgrim season starts on November 16. We have limited the number of pilgrims to 1000 per day during the initial days of the week. There will be an increase of 1000 on weekends. On Sabarimala Mandavilakku and Makaravilakku days, the number of pilgrims will be increased to 5000," a TDB member told news agency ANI. Makaravilakku day will be held on January 14, 2021. VK Jayarajan Potti Appointed Sabarimala Chief Priest.

"Depending on COVID-19 situation, in the coming days, devotees will be required to produce COVID negative certificate obtained within 24 hours of the darshan. Overnight halt at Sannidhanam will not be allowed," he added. Situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level, Sabarimala temple is four km uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district, which is around 100 km from the state capital.

The temple, which bars the entry of women who have attained puberty, is accessible only on foot from Pamba. Every pilgrim carries with him/her a kit (which contains coconuts which are broken just before climbing the 18 steps) on their head during the pilgrimage. Without it, no one is allowed to go up the holy 18 steps at the Sannidhanam.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 29, 2020 09:18 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website