Pathanamthitta: Sabarimala pilgrims have been advised to stay cautious of the raging wind and heavy rain, triggered by the Cyclonic Storm Ockhi, in the hill shrine.
The forest track through Pullumedu has been reportedly experiencing winds strong enough to mow down the trekkers.
The winds that started lashing through the hills at around 12 in the afternoon soon pulled down trees forcing the policemen to block all movement through the forest track.
The pilgrim path though Azhutha and Karimala has turned slippery with sludge, putting the pilgrims at risk. Pedestrian traffic through this route, usually used by the pilgrims going to Sannidhanam from Erumeli has been stopped.
The Pamba Triveni parking lot has been inundated by a swelling Pamba. The rescue forces had to resort to manual towing to pull the cars up from the slushy ground.
Authorities have also sounded an alarm asking the pilgrims to avoid bathing in the Pamba and also to keep away from waterbodies as they may swell in a sudden surge in the event of a rain uphill.
They have also been asked to avoid parking their vehicles under trees and avoid trekking to the hill shrine through the forest path.
The district administration of Pathanamthitta and the police are fighting against odds to ensure the safety of thousands of Sabarimala pilgrims in the wake of Cyclone Ockhi.
Earlier on Thursday the police issued alerts to pilgrims, urging them to stay away from waterbodies, trees, electrical installations, and temporary and 'unstable' contraptions.
Pilgrims were also asked to follow the 'emergency' instructions issued to them and be ready for prolonged stay at Pamba or Sannidhanam in the event of a heightened alert. They should not 'rush down' the traditional trekking path, putting their lives and that of others at risk, the alert said.
Contingents of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were ready at various locations. The authorities had issued a set of alerts for Sabarimala pilgrims earlier.
Alert for Sabarimala pilgrims
• No travel to the hill shrine from 6 pm to 7 am
• Avoid using the forest path till the alert is lifted
• Those at Sannidhanam and Pamba should be ready to stay put if authorities ask them to do so
• Do not rest near trees, waterbodies
• No bathing in rivers, ponds