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Pilgrims asked not to visit Sabarimala temple as river Pamba overflows

Kochi: Heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in Pamba on Wednesday as authorities warned of threats of landslides.

The water level in river Pamba increased and inundated most areas in base camp including the two bridges connecting the pilgrim centre with the main land.

For the first time in the temple history, the sanctorum opened for 'Niraputhari' celebrations on Wednesday morning without the presence of the Tantri.

With river Pamba in spate, the group including Tantri had to be taken through Pullumedu but got stranded at Upputhara.

The Niraputhiri Pooja was, instead, done as scheduled with senior priest (melsanthi) Unnikrishnan Namboothiri carrying out the ceremony by 6.30 pm on Wednesday based on the direction by the Tantri.

The temple was closed after the ceremony and will open on Friday on the occasion of the beginning of the new Malayalam month Chingam. It will close again after five days before reopening for Onam festival.

Tree-falling incidents were reported at many places along the forest route, disrupting traffic frequently as the state-run KSRTC stopped services to Pamba.

Cops have been directed to stop pilgrims at Nilackal and send them back. "Pilgrims, especially those from neighbouring states, are requested not to undertake the pilgrimage till the situation improves. The board will duly inform the same," said a TDB official.

Pathanamthitta district collector P.B. Nooh said the adverse weather is likely to persist for at least two days more. "The water level of Pamba is likely to increase further with shutters of Anathode, Kochupamba and Kakki dams continued to be kept open. Also, heavy rains continued to lash forest and catchment areas in the region," he said.

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