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Sabarimala’s revenue collection not affected by note ban


Thiruvananthapuram: The currency crunch due to demonetisation has not affected revenue collection at Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, where the three-month long Mandala-Makaravilaku festival season is on, with Rs 18.32 crore total income being recorded till January 4.

"Total earnings in the festival period last year was Rs 17.82 crore and revenue collection so far recorded an increase of about Rs 50 lakh," Prayar Gopalakrishnan, President of Travancore Devaswom Board, which administers the shrine, told reporters here Friday.

Of this amount, hundi collections was around Rs 6.65 crore and the balance revenue was from sale of prasadams, including Appam and Aravana, he said, adding the temple received only a few banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Revenue would go up further as heavy rush of devotees are expected in the coming days till the Makaravillaku festival that falls on January 14, he said.

"Last year, more than four crore devotees visited the temple and this year we expect the number to go upto four and a half crore," he said.

Gopalakrishnan said the number of women devotees aged above 50 were also increasing every year.

He said darshan timings had been increased by five hours in a day from this year by extending the opening and closing time of the sanctum sanctorum.

He claimed that TDB with active participation of other departments, had achieved its objective of a Plastic free Sabarimala, part of Periyar wildlife sanctuary, to a great extent.

TDB had already approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request to declare Sabarimala a National pilgrim Centre.

The TDB president said that in view of the December 30 stampede, crowd management on the route to the temple and at Sannidhanam (temple complex atop the hill) has been beefed up with barricades erected in places as instructed by police.

On arrangements for devotees, he said TDB was providing food and drinking water at the temple complex. The annadhanam complex now provides food five times a day. It can accommodate 2000 devotees at a time, he said.

Production of appam (main prasadam), suspended due to some issues, had been restarted and supply had resumed, he said.

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