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Heavy Pilgrim Rush at Sabarimala Ahead of Mandalapuja

Sabarimala is witnessing a significant surge in pilgrim numbers as the Mandalapuja approaches, stretching the pilgrim management protocols to their limits. The queue for darshan at the Sannidhanam has extended up to Sabaripeedom. To manage the influx, authorities are allowing pilgrims to trek the hill only in batches. Although the daily limit for virtual queue bookings is set at 80,000, over a lakh devotees have trekked the hill in the past three days.

The overall turnout for the season is expected to surpass 50 lakh, leading the Travancore Devaswom Board to propose the opening of a parking lot on the Pampa hilltop to alleviate congestion. However, this surge has impacted traffic in the surrounding areas, causing delays in pilgrim return journeys and affecting roads up to Kumily in Idukki and Kottayam town.