Sabarimala temple in Kerala reopens; coronavirus test report mandatory

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Sabarimala temple in Kerala reopened for the devotees on Saturday, after a gap of almost seven months. Devotees have been asked to carry a coronavirus negative report and wear masks at all times at the shrine, as a precautionary measure.

The temple, which reopened for a five-day puja, will allow pilgrims to offer prayers till October 21.

According to the new guidelines issued by the state government, only 250 people will be allowed inside the temple per day to avoid rush and devotees will have to get bookings for darshan through the virtual queue system. On Saturday, as many as 246 devotees registered through the virtual system.

The state government has come up with strict protocols amid the rising number of coronavirus cases in Kerala. Under which, a Covid-19 negative certificate – 48 hours before reaching the shrine – has been made mandatory.

Rapid antigen tests will be conducted at Nilackal for those devotees who fail to carry a Covid-19 negative test report.

Only those between 10-60 years, having a medical certificate which states that they are fit to trek the holy hill, will be allowed to offer prayers, as reported by news agency PTI.

This is the first time since March 25, when a nationwide coronavirus-induced-lockdown was imposed, that devotees are being allowed to offer prayers at the temple.

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