Devotees will now be required to switch off their mobile phones around the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, official sources said on Wednesday (December 4), as the board will be banning the use of mobile phones in the said area of the temple premises.
The decision of implementing the ban was taken at a meeting of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which administers the hill shrine, in the backdrop of pictures of the highly secured sanctum sanctorum being circulated widely in the social media recently.
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Mobile phones will not be allowed to be used beyond the “pathinettam padi” (18 holy steps) and in “Thiru muttam” (area in front of the main shrine) and the sanctum sanctorum region, board sources told news agency PTI.
From the valliya nadapandal (covered pathway leading to the holy steps) devotees will have to switch off their mobiles. Those found using the phones in violation of the ban for the first time would be warned and in case of repeat breach, their handsets would be seized and visuals deleted, they said.
The shrine, where the two-month-long annual “Mandala Makaravillaku” pilgrim season has begun since November 16, has been witnessing a heavy turnout of devotees in the past few days. Over seven lakh pilgrims have had darshan of Lord Ayyappa till Tuesday (December 3), according to officials.
(With inputs from agencies)