In light of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court allowing women of menstruating ages to enter the Sabarimala temple, the Sabarimala Commissioner submitted a report on the pre-annual pilgrimage season works being undertaken in the region to facilitate the heavy rush of pilgrims during the upcoming mandala season this year. The mandala season in Sabarimala starts by mid-November and lasts till mid-January every year.
While acknowledging the report submitted by the commissioner, the Devaswom bench of the court raised the question about the steps taken to implement the recent SC order on Sabarimala. The Supreme court had, on Friday, struck down the rule that prohibited women between the ages 10 and 50 from going to Sabarimala.
The Kerala government had organised a high-level meeting, chaired by the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on Monday, to discuss the verdict and the arrangements to be made to implement the verdict.
After the meeting, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran said that it has been decided to make necessary arrangements in Sabarimala for women pilgrims, keeping in mind the SC verdict on Sabarimala.
â€śExtensive arrangements will be made to accommodate women pilgrims, who reach Nilakkal and Erumeli for their pilgrimage. Although similar facilities cannot be made in Pamba, basic amenities will be provided for the women devotees. We have also decided to provide toilet facilities for women pilgrims,â€ť he said.
He also said that the existing area for women below 10 years and above 50 years to bathe near Pamba river will be expanded to accommodate more woman pilgrims.
â€śThere is a problem of lighting from Pamba till the Sannidhanam, but we will ensure the route is as bright as daylight. We will also build sufficient women-friendly toilets on the route,â€ť he added.
He also said that digital booking for darshan has been considered for the coming season. â€śIn several temples, the digital booking facility helps pilgrims identify the crowded days and avoid getting stuck on the route on such days. So we are starting that feature for Sabarimala this time,â€ť he said.
He also said that transportation facilities will also be improved to accommodate more women by reserving 25% of the seats to Sabarimala from Nilakkal. If women donâ€™t occupy those seats, then men can sit on them.
He also requested pilgrims to avoid staying in Sannidhanam this year due to the likely increase in the pilgrim traffic. â€śWe have also decided to field women sanitation workers along with the already available men in the area,â€ť he said.