Kerala: Preparations & precautions in place for Attukal Pongala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As India moves to contain Covid-19, precautionary measures are in full swing for Attukal Pongala on Monday.

District medical administration gave instructions to
Attukal temple trust to wipe railings with disinfectants every 30 minutes. The railings, which are frequently touched by devotees while queuing up for darshan, will be wiped with bleach solution. Health authorities said people queuing up for darshan move along clutching the railings and often they touch their faces. Not touching the face is recommended as one action that can help prevent spread of
coronavirus.

The cleaning staff of temple trust are being trained by health wing to undertake disinfectant measures from Saturday at the temple which is experiencing huge turnout of devotees ahead of Pongala. Officials with district health administration said the method is being used effectively to check the spread of virus in hospitals. Instead of soaps, directives were also issued on Saturday to install handwash dispensers at major points in the temple.

The bleach solution will be prepared by mixing 300g of bleaching powder in 10L of water. In order to effectively ensure disinfection, health staff will directly train the cleaning staff. Trust authorities said they are following every directive from health department, considering the convergence of many people at Attukal temple on Monday.

Temple trust authorities said on Saturday that an additional 15 cents were cleared for devotees to offer Pongala within the immediate vicinity of the temple. Besides 90 new IP (internet protocol) cameras have been installed to boost surveillance in the area. Also, 20 additional portable toilets have been set up to cater to the needs of women on Pongala day.

The temple trust had purchased 35-cent close to the temple in 2019 which was kept open for devotees. The temple, spread over 18 acres, could expand its acreage with the land purchase.

Collector K Gopalakrishnan held a final review meet on preparations on Saturday. KSRTC buses will be ready for service soon after holy water is sprinkled at 2.10pm. The collector gave strict instructions that only those registered under food safety authority may distribute food on Pongala day.

Pongala rites will begin at 9.45am following cleansing measures. Tanthri Brahmasree Thekkedath Kuzhikattillathu Parameswaran Namboothiri will hand over the lamp lit from the sanctum sanctorum to chief priest Brahmasree P Eswaran Nampoothiri. The chief priest will light the hearth at thidappally and will hand over the light to the co-priest, who will light the hearths at v aliya thidappally and pandara aduppu set up in front of the temple.

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