Rs 15-crore rise in Sabarimala revenue

via PNS | Pathanamthitta published on January 17, 2010

Revenue at the Lord Ayyappa temple during the current Mandalam-Makara Vilakku pilgrimage season till the Makara Vilakku day, January 14, showed an increase of Rs 15.56 crore compared to that in the previous season, according to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB).

The total revenue at the temple during the current Mandalam-Makara Vilakku pilgrimage season was Rs 119.15 crore, according to a release from the TDB, the body administering most of the temples of southern Kerala, including the Sabraimala shrine. The revenue at the temple in the 2008-09 pilgrimage season was Rs 103.59 crore.

After the commencement of Makara Vilakku season, the total income generated was Rs 35.15 crore as against Rs 30.96 crore in the previous festival season. Income from Kanikka (direct offerings made by devotees at the sanctum sanctorum) was Rs 15.27 crore, while that from the sale of Aravana and Appam, the chief Prasadams of the temple, were Rs 14.79 crore and Rs 2.38 crore respectively, the release said.

At the same time, TDB officials expected the total pilgrim turnout this season to touch four crores. Estimates had put the number of pilgrims who arrived at the hill shrine in the last season at more than three crore. “The increase in revenue itself is an indicator of the increase in the number of pilgrims. However, a clear picture could be drawn up by the time the shrine closes for the season,” said an official.

The hill shrine will close on January 20 and it would open only in next November for the Mandalam-Makara Vilakku season. At the same time, the shrine would open in between for the monthly poojas and special poojas during Onam and Vishu festivals. The Lord Ayyappa shrine had opened on November 15 for the Mandalam pilgrimage season.

The shrine had closed for three days on December 26 after the 41-day Mandalam pilgrimage season during which unprecedented rush of devotees was witnessed. The temple reopened for the Makara Vilakku festival on December 30. Unprecedented rush of devotees was also witnessed for sighting the Makara Jyothi on the Makara Sankramam day on January 14.

The authorities had arranged tight security measures for the current pilgrimage season in the context of the nationwide security alert for Makara Vilakku.. More than 4,000 policemen, apart from central forces personnel and policemen from other states had been deployed. Some fire=cracker bursts in the last days of the Mandalam season had raised concerns but there had been no untoward incidents.

Devaswom officials said they were relieved that there had been no major problems during this pilgrim season. “though they were several shortcomings, which can be solved only in the course of time, there had not been many complaints from the pilgrims. The greatest advantage was that there were no problems in the manufacture and distribution of Aravana and Appam. Also, sufficient amenities for the pilgrims had been arranged at Sannidahanam (the adobe of Lord Ayyappa) and Pamapa (the base camp),” claimed a TDB official.

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