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March 2021
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CM flays Rahul''s silence over Cong govt falling in party-ruled states        Kerala has become ''fundamentalists'' own country'' under CPI(M) rule, says Sitharaman        COVID-19 crisis far from over; 3rd wave to be more dangerous: CSIR official        Army cancels recruitment exam after paper leaked        Rahul dubs PM Modi a ''formidable enemy,'' vows to defeat him        ISRO launches DRDO''s satellite Sindhu Netra        On National Science Day, Modi asks citizens to practise Lab to Land mantra        UN Human Rights Office says 18 killed in Myanmar crackdown        FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson vaccine against Covid-19 for emergency use        ISL: Straight shootout for final playoff berth between Goa and Hyderabad        Comments against judges a disturbing new trend: Ravi Shankar Prasad        Syria airstrikes: President Biden protected US personnel, facilities, says White House        DGCA extends suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till February 28        Rahul launches tirade against Modi, talks about ''connect'' with Tamil Nadu        Fishing hartal hits coastal belt in Kerala        Five assembly polls to begin Mar 27, Bengal to have max 8 phases; counting on May 2        Vijayan claims Rahul shying away from attacking BJP        Kerala to test all returning expats using RT-PCR; 3,671 fresh COVID-19 cases, 14 deaths reported        Gelatin sticks, detonators seized from train passenger in Kerala        Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls taken in mass abduction        
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Kerala News
Adhering to COVID protocol, devotees witness Makaravilakku at Sabarimala
 
Sabarimala (Ker): Amid strict COVID-19 protocol, hundreds of devotees on Thursday offered prayers at the famous Lord Ayyappa temple here on the auspicious occasion of ''Makaravilakku'', marking the culmination of the over two-month-long pilgrimage. The hill temple, which used to witness a heavy rush on the occasionevery year, was thronged by only a few pilgrims due to the strict safety guidelines in place in the wake of the virus outbreak. As per the government directive, only 5,000 pilgrims were permitted to climb the holy hills to offer prayers on the day, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) officials here said.

Wearing face masks and carrying the customary ''irumudikettu'' (the traditional bundle a devotee brings to the shrine) over their heads, devotees gathered at the temple complex to have a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity in the evening. The portals of the shrine was thrown open after the ''deeparadhana'' (arti), which was performed to the idol of Lord Ayyappa adorned with the holy jewels, ''Thiruvabharanam''. The jewels were brought here, moments before the ''arti'', in a ceremonial procession, which started its journey a couple of days earlier from the Pandalam palace, where, according to legend, Lord Ayyappa was born and spent his childhood. The ''Saranam Ayyappa'' chants intensified when the ''makara jyothi'', considered a divine light by devotees, flickered across the eastern horizon above the Ponnambalamedu soon after the arti.

Police, health department and other agencies made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the final leg of the pilgrimage and to manage the crowd in compliance with the COVID protocols. Meanwhile, state Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran earlier said here that the Left government was prepared to extend all support for the developmentof Sabarimala. Indicating the fall in revenue collection at the hill temple, he said only Rs 16 crore was collected till Tuesday in this season compared to the revenue of Rs 260 crore last year. The minister also requested devotees to extend all help to the hill shrine.


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