Sabarimala is situated in the Pariyar Tiger Reserve region on the well-known western ghat mountain. On average, 20 million people visit the hill-top temple every year with the larger influx between Mid November and mid-January. During this season alone the temple earns around Rs 225 crore, as per the last year’s estimate. Defying the hostile topography, treading several miles through the dense forest, climbing steep hills, and braving wild animals the pilgrims reach there to have a glimpse of their might lord Swami Ayyappa. That has built for the tiny State flourishing religious tourism. An increasingly large number of pilgrims now flow in from across the border. Though the exact economic benefit of this tourism cannot be quantified, it must be said that the pilgrimage renders a huge economic benefit to the State. Thousands of the families sustain the Sabarimala pilgrims through trading and self-employment initiatives. The sectors like transport, hotels, dairy, agriculture, anti-crafts, etc are given life during the season.
This year, thebusiness is down to disappoint a huge section of self-employed people. Neither thegovernment nor the agitators may be able help them recover their losses