Sabarimala (Kerala) : Authorities at the Sabarimala temple here have made arrangements for helicopter landing at Nilackal near Pamba during an emergency for use by the pilgrims.
The temple authorities said the helicopter facility has been arranged for the first time and would be used in case of emergency. It would not be used for bringing the pilgrims.
The temple opens Nov 16 for the festival season. The festival continues till the third week of January. The Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.
An Indian Air Force helicopter, which flew in from Coimbatore, landed successfully at Nilackal but could not land at Sharamkuthi.
Nilackal, about 10 km from Pamba, is considered as the base camp for the pilgrims who arrive for pilgrimage to the Sabarimala shrine. Sharamkuthi is on the hilltop and nearer to the temple.
The temple, at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level and four km from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala, bars the entry of women who have attained puberty but not reached menopause.
Large numbers of pilgrims turn up at the shrine every year on ‘Makar jyoti’ day on Jan 14. This year a record one million devotees witnessed the ‘Makar jyoti’ light appear on the horizon in the evening.