Devotees brave rain to offer prayers at Sabarimala

Braving rains, thousands of devotees offered prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on Sunday, the second day of the annual two-month-long 'Mandala- Makaravilakku puja' pilgrimage season.

After chief priest A.K Sudheer Namboothiri opened the sanctum sanctorum at 3 am and performed special 'poojas' including 'Neyyabhishekam' among others, the hill shrine was thronged by large number of devotees throughout the day.

The 'Nadapanthal' (area where people queue up for 'darshan') and 'Sannidhanam' witnessed huge crowd despite the heavy rain in the evening.

Police Control room officials said a total of 25,125 footfalls were recorded till 5 pm on Sunday.

"Arrangements were fine.. but the rain was unexpected. Many including children got drenched," a devotee from Andhra Pradesh told.

The temple was opened for the annual pilgrim season on Saturday, days after the Supreme Court decided to refer to a larger bench re-examination of religious issues including those arising out of its 2018 verdict lifting a centuries-old ban on women of menstruating age visiting the hill top shrine.