21 Sabarimala pilgrims were injured as a minor stampede occured at the famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa on Sunday evening. Apart from them, 2 people are critically injured in the tragic incident which occured due to heavy rush of devotees at the temple.
The injured have been admitted to Sannidhanam hospital, Pathnamthitta Collector R Girija said. She said there was a "small stampede" between Sannidhanamand Malikapuram and about 20 persons were injured.
There was a heavy rush of pilgrims on Sunday, the penultimate day before culmination of the 41-day mandala pooja. The stampede occurred just as the holy 'Thanga Angi' procession carrying ornaments to be worn by Lord Ayyappa on Mandala pooja on Monday had reached the temple on Sunday evening.
The procession starts from Aranmula Sree Parthasarthy temple four days before the Mandala pooja. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said there was aheavy rush of pilgrims at the shrine when the thanga angi wasbrought. He was at the temple shortly before the stampede and had left the shrine after 'deeparadhana' (evening prayers) with Thanga Angi.
The minister said he was on his way to the hospital. Police are restricting movement of pilgrims from downhillPamba to sannidhanam because of the heavy rush.
Earlier in 2011, a major stampede had broken out in Sabraimala on Makara Jyothi Day, killing 106 pilgrims and injuring about 100 more. The stampede had occured after a Jeep had turned over involving hundreds of pilgrims who were returning from a Hindu shrine for the god Ayyappan, on the last day of a yearly festival which attracts devotees from all over the country.