Kottiyoor pilgrimage is an annual spiritual trip. Hundreds of thousands of people throng to this forest temple at the western ghat region to dip into the holy waters of River Vavali and get a darshan of Lord Siva and Sakthy. However,the govt. mechanism here is a total failure in the case of pilgrims’ amenities
Each year, the number of pilgrims is being increased.But,the government has taken the plights of pilgrims , lightly.Improper queue system, poor medical facilities,no support mechanism for senior citizens and babies make Kottiyoor pilgrimage a nightmare.
Since the shrine is very popular as Dakshin Kashi ( Kashi of the South), following age old rituals,making this destination a very special to its devotees.
The Devaswom staff is proving that they are incapable of crowd management.
The government is least bothered about these matters,complain devotees who suffered lot due to heavy rush.
A devotee from Kannur,Padmanabhan Nambiar said that
he had lot of miseries when he and his family visited here the day after the recent hartals in Kozhikode.
The police, health department and devaswom staff didn’t foresee the possible rush after the hartal days.
Here , queue system is very rude.The tail end of of the queue, in the last few days reached the Ikkare temple (Devi temple) region,after crossing the Vavali bridge.
No Hindu organizations was there to help devotees during the rush hours.
When people cry for water , few volunteers come with water bottles. It is very insufficient,considering the number of devotees.
It is learned that officials and volunteers are also not in good terms.
When the volunteers demand special queues for senior citizen,the devaswom authorities disapprove.
There are two main queues from the East and West sides. Meanwhile,another parallel queue coming from the center through Thiruvanchira also reach together.
Finally,people who stayed in queue for long hours ,coming upside is merged with center queue and it breaks the rule of first come first basis.
Even if the security staff using ropes to separate queues ,it is not perfect.
Five to six people throng in one line and pushing from back ,allowing queue jumpers reach, front . The authorities didn’t divide the line into one or two files and control rush.
“Around 100 devotees including senior citizen and children fainted in the queue.”,said E. Sreenivasan from Kakkattil who visited the temple on June 11.
Taking them to the medical stall was another task on the part of the volunteers.
The health team is sitting at Ikkare Kottiyoor premise.
Volunteers carry sick devotees on stretcher and cross the Vavali and reach Ikkare temple premise. It take few minutes to reach there,that too is unsafe.
“Akkare Kottiyoor is most crowded with devotees.But,there is no facility there, if an emergency situation occurs.Hue and cry in queues create trouble among devotees.
People had to wait five to six hours to reach the sanctum sanctorum of Akkare Kottiyoor, last few days.
We get only one month to have our pilgrim.
And entry to women to this ancient temple also has some restrictions during the climax days of the festival. So,itself women pilgrims visit the temple in large number during the initial days itself.”-says Mukundan B,another devotee.
Earlier, 90% belong to Malabar districts come , here . But,situation has changed lot.Pilgrims from southern districts,neighboring states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu visit this temple.
Devotees tale and CNMs investigation make it clear that a strict monitoring of situation is needed at this temple to ensure safety and peaceful spiritual experience.
Public transportation facility also is very bad here. KSRTC conducts service but uses buses in poor condition.
Unhygienic condition prevails in parking lots and river sides.
Private bus employees are seen interviewing people from the parking lot.No police is watching such matters and help pilgrims.