Kerala government cancels Sabarimala Temple annual festival
The decision was taken after the state government held a closed-door meeting on June 11 with Sabarimala Tantri Kandararu Mahesh Mohanaru and Travancore Devaswom Board officials in Thiruvananthapuram.
Kerala government on June 11 has decided to cancel this year’s Sabarimala annual festival and has indefinitely postponed the opening of the hill shrine due to COVID-19. The festival was scheduled to begin on June 19, 2020.
The decision was taken after the state government held a closed-door meeting with Sabarimala Tantri Kandararu Mahesh Mohanaru and Travancore Devaswom Board officials in Thiruvananthapuram. The temple was earlier scheduled to be open from June 14 for the monthly pujas.
Tantri had earlier written a letter to Devaswom Board Officials on June 10 highlighting the necessity of conducting a high-level meeting. The letter also mentioned that the pilgrims should not be allowed to enter Sabarimala Temple because of the worsening COVID-19 situation.
Tantri Mahesh on canceling the opening of Sabarimala Temple:
Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) President and Commissioner, N Vasu had stated that he had consulted with Tantri along with the senior members of his family before recommending that Sabarimala temple can be opened from June 14 for the monthly pujas.
Tantri Mahesh clearing the air on whether he was or was not consulted earlier regarding the opening of the temple and the festival stated that the decision to open Sabarimala was not taken arbitrarily by TDB. He mentioned that he had written to TDB earlier and had agreed that the festival can take place on the scheduled date which was June 19.
He further cleared that when the TDB commissioner spoke to him before or after the video conference with the state’s Chief Minister, he did not say anything against the decision as it was issued directly from the centre. It was later that it was realised that the temples must take an independent stand on the issue.
He clarified that his approach was purely practical and he was not under any kind of pressure. The concern and deciding factor were health and no one had attempted to pressure him. He explained that the situation has become worse and if anyone tests positive, the festival will be affected.
The tantri also mentioned that the Kerala State government has always acted in the best interests of the devotees and officials were highly receptive once the issue was raised.
The President of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), N Vasu had confirmed and announced on June 10 that the Sabarimala temple festival will start from June 19, 2020.
TDB President had further added that the temple will open on June 14 for the monthly pujas as it has been discussed with both tantris of the temple and only with their consultation and cooperation, the decision has been taken.
He informed that before the festival on June 19, there will be monthly pujas from 14 June and the Arat ceremony will be conducted on June 20 at Pampa river.