The supply of Medicated Drinking water in bottles in Sabarimala may help pilgrims avert the risk of the disease spread. Yes, in the wake of the widespread virus outbreak, the Travancore Devswom Board, the apex temple body which manages the hill temple, has launched a new system of distributing the specially prepared drinking water in separate steel bottles for pilgrims in the Lord Ayyappa temple, so as to avoid the risk of the disease spread, thanks to the COVID-19 vigil.
According to Travancore Devswom Board officials, pilgrims can pay a deposit of Rs 200 to receive a steel bottle in which they can collect medicinal drinking water from the Anjaneya auditorium in Pamba, the base camp. When the steel bottle is returned to the counter after the darshan, the deposit amount would be refunded, they said.
In addition, water is also distributed in disposable paper glass at various points like Pamba, Charalmedu, Jyothinagar and Malikappuram in the trekking route, as part of COVID-19 precautionary measures, they added. The medicinal drinking water, distributed among Lord Ayyappa devotees during every pilgrim season, is prepared by boiling herbal articles like 'chukk' (dried ginger), 'ramacham' (vetiver) and 'pathimukham' (sappanwood).
Used paper glass, abandoned by devotees, is collected and disposed in an eco-friendly manner. Medicinal drinking water is prepared at the distribution centres itself, they said adding that the employees who distribute it wear mask, face shields and gloves, adhering to COVID protocols. The annual two-month-long Mandala-Makaravilakku season at Sabarimala commenced on November 16, adhering to strict Covid- 19 guidelines.