Sabarimala Festival: Mandatory Antigen Test, Virtual Queue Required As Kerala Allows Pilgrimage Amid COVID-19

INDIA Team Latestly|

Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple is all set to open its doors on November 16 for the Mandalam-Makaravilakku season. On September 28, Kerala government announced that the pilgrims will be allowed for the two-month long holy season, adhering to COVID-19 protocol. The government has decided to reduce the number of devotees this year and entry only through a virtual queue system. A high level meeting was convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to chalk out the plan for the annual pilgrimage season. Reportedly, those below 10 years and above 60 will not be allowed to take part in the pilgrimage. Devotees from other states have been allowed to visit the Sabarimala temple, along with a mandatory coronavirus negative certificate. Even upon reaching near the holy site, the devotees will again have to undergo an antigen test by the state authorities in order to enter the Sannidhanam. It is also to be noted that overnight stay at Sannidhanam will not be allowed this year due to COVID-19-induced restrictions. Scores of devotees from neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana visit the Sabarimala temple every year. CM Vijayan also said that the State Health Ministry will also look into the concerns raised by some about wearing of masks during climbing up the hill.

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