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Kerala :A temple  official  said that the earlier darshan timings were 3 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to midnight,but due to the huge influx of devottees at the temple,it was decided to change the timings of the second half to 3PM to 11 PM. With an increase in faith at the famed Lord Ayyappa shrine in Sabarimala here during this year’s Mandalam Makaravilakku pilgrimage, in the absence of the covid-19 restrictions ,the temple authorities  decided to “advance” the timing when Darshan begins in the second half of the day.

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A temple official on Tuesday said that the earlier darshan  timings were 3 AM to 1:00 PM. and 4:00 PM. to  midnight,but due to the huge influx of devottees at the temple,.
Since November 16, when the doors of the temple  opened for devotees, over 3 lakhs pilgrims have arrived for darshan till  Monday evening, the official said


An official said “yesterday   there were 70,000 devotees. For today there are 60,000 bookings via virtual queue and in addition there would be spot bookings also”.   “Therefore we decided to advance the timings  in the second half of the day”,he added

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On the eve of the 41 day long annual mandala Pooja festival ,Kerala  Devaswom Minister  K. Radhakrishnan had said unlike the last 2 years, when due to strict  COVID-19   guidelines the devotees were limited around 30,000 each day, this year  there were  no limits on the number of pilgrims who can come for  Darshan .Therefore, an increase of 40 to  50 percent in the number of devotees was expected in this year .

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The 41 days long  Mandala Pooja festival began on  November 17 and will conclude on December 27.The temple  will be opened  again on December 30 for the Makaravilakku  pilgrimage, which will end on January 14, 2023.The shrine will be closed on January 20,2023 concluding the program season.