I have never been to a pilgrimage centre nor visited temple deities in hills. Crowds anywhere deter me. Still I dared into the festival at Sorimuthian Temple in KMTR. The sheer number of people visiting the temple, that too inside a tiger reserve was mind boggling. Imagine the shock that the denizens will be subjected to with such a sudden and violent intrusion into their territory by human beings. At the end of it, there was feel good factor about campaigning and research that measured the impacts of the festival. I pondered over what the future holds for the place. When I visited the temple for the post festival clean-up, the shops were still there and people were thronging the temple. A month later when I visited the temple again with the Anthropological Survey of India team, people were still there and waste was strewn all around.
Sabarimala today, from what I have read, is now having a good number of people visiting the temple during the off-season and the area under the temple administration has grown and encroached more forest lands. The temple authorities are planning a small township. Will SMK remain a quaint festival and or will it grow to a monstrous dimension?
There lurks a danger of religious groups hijacking the entire festival. They might draw crowds all year round and from outside the