Sabarimala: Five days after the Sabarimala pilgrimage season opened, some unsavoury reports about prasadam and fleecing of pilgrims have come in, but administrators say it is just media sensationalism. As one climbs the hill from the base point at Pamba to reach the temple atop, traditional crackers being burst is the first point of fleecing pilgrims. A Rs 5 fire cracker is being sold for Rs 10 to pilgrims.
At the temple atop the hill, besides snatching a glimpse of Lord Ayyapan, the ruling deity, and paying him obeisance, the next important duty for all pilgrims is to collect the famed prasadam, consisting of 'appam' and 'aravana' (a pasty liquid which tastes similar to payasam). A group of pilgrims from Thrissur was surprised to find the prasadam at the Ayyapan temple was infected with fungus. In another incident, police seized bottled drinking water on Monday that was past its expiry date. "We have found that people bursting crackers are overcharging. Hence we have displayed a board that one cracker is for Rs 5 only," said an official appointed to oversee the functioning of the pilgrimage.
A Bailey bridge built by the Madras Engineer Group (MEG) of the army on the diversion road linking Sannidhanam with Chandranandan Road, at a cost of Rs 90 lakh for pilgrims in the last season appears to be deserted. The temple is run by the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) and is a major source of revenue. The aggregate revenue earned at Sabarimala
02:32 PM, Nov 20, 2012