Temples in the south are still observing an increase in its visitors. As the state government is encouraging for a tough annual Mandala-Makaravilakku season in Sabarimala, after putting in place several curbs to limit the number of devotees, it seems devotees are suspicious of entering crowded temples. Despite the government rules the daily number of devotees permitted to enter the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, the iconic shrine now observes less than 50% of the permitted number of devotees.
KB Mohandas, chairman, Guruvayur Devaswom, told a leading daily, “Though 1,000 people are allowed to have darshan at the temple daily after booking their visit through the virtual queue system, hardly 50% of them turn up. The COVID control measures undertaken by the Devaswom haven’t quite allayed the concerns of the public, it seems.” According to a senior Devaswom official, “Of the around 500 devotees who visit the temple daily, half of them are locals in the absence of devotees who have booked their visit. The online registration is full every day, but only a quarter of them show up. Owing to this, locals having Aadhaar identification are allowed for darshan.”
The number of weddings taken at the Guruvayur temple, several of the offerings made to the principal deity by parents of grooms, too has been drastically hit. Compared to the pre-COVID times when around 100 wedlocks used to take place daily at the divine shrine, their number has come down to a handful now. This despite the fact that up to 60 marriages are allowed to take place at the temple daily.