Sabarimala high priest chants green mantra

via www.expressbuzz.com published on December 7, 2009

CHENNAI: Kandararu Rajeevaru, who recently took over as the high priest of the Sabarimala Temple, on Friday appealed all pilgrims to avoid use of plastics to minimise environmental damage to the surrounding hills and the River Pampa.

Inaugurating the website www.cleansabarimala.com, he told Express that puja items like honey and sandalwood that form part of irumudi have been packed in plastic covers. “Pilgrims tend to throw the plastic covers aro und the hills resulting in large-scale damage to the hills. Animals grazing around the area end up consuming the toxic waste,” he noted.

He suggested that pilgrims carry irumudi items in biodegradable packs. Pamph lets are also being distributed informing pilgr ims not to throw water/honey bottles and any nonbiodegradable items on the hills or in the Pampa River. As per official statistics, about four crore pilgrims visit Sabarimala each year.

Most of them discard the empty plastic covers and bottles on the hills.

T R Anantha Padmanabhan, a regular Sabarimala pilgrim, said the immediate trigger for such an appeal was an incident at a Sivan Temple in Ettumanoor, Kottayam six months ago.

“A male cow donated to the temple died prematurely.

The post-mortem revealed that it had consumed lots of plastic: about 17 kg plastic was removed from the carcass.” Sreejit Namboodiri, priest at Ayyappan Temple, Sastri Nagar, Adyar, said: “Don’t we fume if someone litters our house or throws garbage in the surroundings? Why then spoil Sabarimala, Lord Ayyappan’s abode? Doing so is an insult to Him and defeats the very purpose of pilgrimage.

I have seen some pilgrims throwing plastic bottles on snakes; isn’t that disgusting?”

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