Huge turnout of devotees expected in Sabarimala post Covid

In the absence of Covid-19 restrictions, which were in place the last two years, the famed Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala is all set to receive a huge turnout of devotees from Wednesday evening onwards when the shrine opens its doors a day ahead of the two-month long annual pilgrimage season.
Around 28,000 devotees are expected today at the temple on the eve of the annual Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season, which begins on November 17, a source in the temple said.
On November 17, around 49,000 pilgrims are expected to turn up at the shrine according to registrations made on the virtual queue system, the source said.
Last year, the government had decided to allow only 30,000 devotees per day to have darshan through a virtual queue system due to prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation.
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple will be opened at 5 PM on November 16 in the presence of chief priest (Tantri) Kandararu Rajeevaru by outgoing head priest N Parameswaran Namboothiri.