Sabarimala pilgrimage: 12 drunk devotees arrested on the way to the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa
The two-month-long pilgrimage to the Lord Ayyappa temple is the most holy period for people in Kerala. Though a lot of devotees follow all the essential disciplinary steps while on the Sabarimala pilgrimage, some were caught not doing so. Innumerable devotees trekked up the holy hillock to reach the shrine on the banks of the river Pampa. Around 12 people were arrested by the police at Sannidhanam for using liquor. They adulterated the water they were carrying with alcohol and consumed on the way to the holy shrine. In between the alcohol consumption some of them even abandoned their kids, the police tracked them down later.
Large contingents of police personnel have been deployed for security, crowd management and traffic control. Since the start of the pilgrimage season, around 30 people have been caught by the police for being drunk at Sannidhanam. Even after the intensified check up routines and other measures, people still resort to such steps and bring liquor to the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa.
During the annual religious period in Kerala people live a celibate life and rid themselves of all addictions for 41 days before heading towards the abode of Lord Ayyappa. This serves as the most essential first step before the pilgrimage to Sabarimala. During this period, one attains basic purity of mind body and soul. So the devotees were supposed to fast and not consume alcohol, non-vegetarian food and tobacco.The police as a punishment asked them to chant the ‘Sarana mantra’ for 108 times in the blithering sunlight.The police have filed a case against them for bringing in liquor and consuming it.Later they were released with their relatives
One of world’s largest religious events, the shrine attracts an average of 30 million devotees every year. The steep hill covers a distance of about 5 km to reach the ‘Sannidhanam’ atop where the temple is located.The vast majority of pilgrims are men as women between 10 and 50 years are not allowed to visit the shrine as per the traditions followed by the temple. The first leg of the pilgrimage will culminate with the ‘Mandala’ pooja on December 27, which will be followed by ‘Makaravilakku’ with the ‘Jyothi Darshan’ as its finale on January 14.