Strict security measures will be in place at Sabarimala during the upcoming Mandalakalam annual pilgrimage.
The Kerala Police have directed that all vehicles arriving at Sabarimala should carry a 'police pass.' Vehicles without the pass will not be allowed parking in Sabarimala.
The new decision comes in the backdrop of the parking area being shifted to Nilakkal following the recent floods. Vehicles intending to park at Nilakkal must carry the police pass. However, an order issued in this regard does not clarify whether the pass should be produced by pilgrims hailing from other states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
During the upcoming annual pilgrimage, except KSRTC buses, no vehicle will be allowed beyond Nilakkal.
Pilgrims have to board the government buses for Pamba and online reservation facility is available for the journey. Seats can be booked on the website www.keralartc.com. A maximum of 10 seats can be reserved using one ticket.
Counters for issuing unreserved tickets to Sabarimala pilgrims on the spot will be opened at Nilakkal.
All the tickets will include return fare with a validity of 48 hours. In other words, each pilgrim must complete the Nilakkal—Pamba—Nilakkal trip within 48 hours. The offering of prayers and other rituals have to be carried out within this deadline.
For darshan, another online window has been opened for booking tickets: www.sabarimalaq.com.
This year, pilgrims can use the ticket received from this website to reach Sannidhanam walkway (Nadapanthal) along Chandranandan Road from Marakkoottam.
Meanwhile, identity cards have been made compulsory for all employees of shops and eateries functioning in Sabarimala and nearby places. These stringent measures are planned against the background of the violence witnessed at Sabarimala and its adjoining areas during the rituals held during the Malayalam month of Thulam and Chithira ‘Atta Thirunal’ fete.