Pathanamthitta: The Travancore Devaswom Board has approached the government for help as it grapples with a severe financial crisis despite the reopening of temples.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called a special meeting on September 28 to discuss the problems of the board. The demand for restricted entry of devotees to Sabarimala during the Thulamasa Puja will also be discussed during the meeting.
While the temples have been reopened, the number of devotees visiting them has not returned to the pre-COVID levels.
Although temple visits were allowed in between with certain restrictions, the decision later to again close them caused a big setback, the Devaswom Board said.
During this time, private temples were allowed to remain open and they generated income through offerings by devotees, the board said.
It is only recently that the Devaswom Board gave permission for choroonu (baby’s first rice-eating ceremony) and Thulabharam (weighing of devotees with what they intend to give as offering), the rituals that are important for daily income, to resume inside temples with conditions.
Ceremonies and rituals such as processions using elephants, sapthama, navaham, and annadanam, in which devotees take part in large numbers were also not held due to the lockdown. This also resulted in huge loss, the Board said.
The auction of shops for selling pooja items also did not live up to expectations this time, the Board said.