President Ram Nath Kovind will visit the Sabarimala temple to offer prayers during the holy Makaravilakku season on Monday. All arrangements, including the setting up of a helipad, are currently being made by the Travancore Devaswom Board ahead of his visit.
According to reports, the Presidentâ€™s office got in touch with the Kerala government to enquire about suitable dates for his visit. The Kerala government, in turn, conveyed that the President could visit on January 5, Monday. The President will land in Kochi airport and then be taken to the Sabarimala sannidhanam via helicopter.
According to reports, a high-level meeting has been convened under Devaswom Minister Kadakkampilly Surendran to discuss the arrangements to be made in the temple premises. Among the main arrangements that have been discussed is the setting up of a helipad near the temple for the President to directly land and pay his visit at the Sannidhanam after landing in Kochi. All arrangements will be completed in three days.
On Monday, the Sabarimala temple opened its doors for its annual Makaravilakku festival. The temple, which had closed on December 27 after the 41-day Mandala pilgrim season, opened again on Monday for the Makaravilakku season, and will remain open until January 21.
According to reports, around 1,397 police personnel have been deployed at the temple for security ahead of the pilgrim season. Apart from this, a quick response team and a bomb squad have been stationed near the temple premises.
On December 13, the Supreme Court declined to pass any order on the pleas by two women activists - Bindhu Ammini and Rehana Fathima - seeking a direction to the Kerala government to offer police protection for the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple.
The court cited the â€˜emotiveâ€™ nature of the issue to refrain from passing any orders on the petition, as the matter has already been referred to a larger bench for consideration.
The Chief Justice stated that there was no stay on its September 28, 2018 judgment, which allows women of all ages to enter the temple. He said that the law was in the petitionersâ€™ favour but added that the court declined to pass an order due to the emotive nature of the issue. After the Supreme Court kept Sabarimala review petitions pending, Kerala government said it will not give protection to women who go to Sabarimala.