New Delhi: Kerala on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the famous hill shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala as a 'national pilgrim centre'.
A memorandum in this regard was submitted to the Prime Minister here by a ministerial delegation led by Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
Chandy said that the temple, which attracts lakhs of devotees every year, was noted for its contribution to national integration and communal harmony.
Given its location in a densely-forested zone in the area of a tiger sanctuary, Chandy said that both the state government and the Travancore Devaswom Board are faced with constraints in undertaking any large-scale development work to provide the required facilities for the pilgrims on the lines of what has been done at the Tirupati or Vaishno Devi temples.
"Kerala government feels that all the obstructions could be remedied if Sabarimala is declared as a 'national pilgrim centre'," Chandy told reporters here, adding that the delegation had requested the prime minister to "take all necessary steps" towards that end.
Kerala Devaswom Minister VS Sivakumar said that Modi's response to their demand was "positive".