Sabarimala temple in Kerala is all set to open its gates for devotees of Lord Ayyappa from July 17-21 for monthly pooja called ‘Masapooja’. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced that the entry into the hill shrine will be allowed only to those who have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
Those who are yet to receive the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine will have to submit a negative RT-PCR test certificate conducted within 72 hours of the visit to the temple, the Chief Minister said.
To follow Covid-19 protocols, a maximum of 5,000 people will be allowed through virtual queue system for darshan of ‘Masapooja’.
Considered the abode of Lord Ayyappa, the Sabarimala temple is located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. The temple is the site to one of the largest annual pilgrimages in the world as every year, millions of people wait for hours to climb the 18 gold-plated steps leading to the shrine.
Situated on a hilltop, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu celibate deity Ayyappan, who is believed to be the son of Shiva and Mohini – the feminine incarnation of Vishnu. Its administrative and legal duties are managed by the Travancore Devasvom Board, an affiliate of the Kerala government.