Rush at Sabarimala continues, income touches over Rs 69 crore

File Photo: Devotees crowd at the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.

Sabarimala: With the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala witnessing a heavy flow of devotees, the income of the shrine has touched over Rs 69 crore in the first 20 days of the ongoing two-month-long pilgrim season.

Till December 6, the revenue touched Rs 69.39 crore which was about Rs 27.55 crore more than it was in the corresponding period of the 2018-19 pilgrim season, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) that administers the affairs of the shrine, said during the previous season, the revenue during the period was Rs 41.84 crore, a TDB member Vijaykumar said.

The shrine had opened for the mandala pooja on November 16. While the sale from ‘aravana prasadam’ touched Rs 28.26 crore, from ‘appam prasadam’ it was Rs 4.2 crore during the period.

The ‘hundi’ collections stood at Rs 23.58 crore.

The temple complex and many parts of the state had witnessed unprecedented protests last year after the CPI(M)- led LDF government decided to implement the September 28 apex court verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine.

This year, the government has said it would decide on whether to provide police cover for women between 10-50 years of age to offer worship at the temple on the basis of the apex court’s directions on the petitions filed by some women activists.

Bhumata brigade leader Trupti Desai had to return from Kochi once again this year without being able to go to Sabarimala following protests by devotees opposing the entry of women in the menstrual age group into the temple. Police, citing security reasons, also refused them protection.