The Kerala Government is readying itself to welcome women to the hill shrine of Sabarimala, following the recent verdict of the Supreme Court. It is just a month and a half for the annual pilgrimage season to start.
A decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today to arrange all facilities for the women devotees.
Special facilities, including women-friendly toilets and washrooms, would be set up for women at various places, including Nilakkal and Erumeli, said Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran after the meeting. The toilets and washrooms will be coloured differently, he added. They would also be set up from the Pamba to the shrine.
It was proposed to extend the bathing ghat at Pampa so that women devotees could use the facility. After the recent flood destroyed infrastructure along the Pamba, it was decided to have the facility for 6,000 devotees. But in the wake of the judgment, the meeting decided to raise it to 10,000. The devaswom authorities expect the digital booking system to help manage the rush, which could go up by 40 per cent with the court allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine.
It is learnt the Chief Minister was annoyed by the devaswom move for a review petition and asked officials to make necessary arrangements for the season without delay. Travancore Devaswom president A Padmakumar, who was not present at the meeting, said he did not expect a surge of women devotees.