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Kerala to get pilgrim-tourism circuit to link Pandava temples

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Kerala will soon have a unique pilgrim-tourism circuit connecting five temples associated with the ‘Pancha Pandavas’, the mythical characters in Mahabharatha. The shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu at Thrichitat, Thiruppuliyoor, Thiruvaranmula, Thiruvanvandoor and Thrikkodithanam, located in central Kerala districts, are collectively called ‘Pandava Temples’ of the state.

Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) is drawing up a pilgrim tourism circuit programme connecting the Pandava temples under the Centre’s Swadesh Darshan scheme, which is meant for theme-based development of destinations. The board, which manages over 1,200 temples in the state, also has plans to develop another similar circuit linking five temples dedicated to Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala, Aryankavu, Achankovil, Kulathupuzha and Ponnambalamedu, informed TDB president A Padmakumar.

He said the board has plans to renovate the Pandava temples, improve their basic infrastructure and set up more lodging facilities for pilgrims under the initiative. “A pilgrim-tourism circuit connecting Pandava temples is an innovative concept. According to our belief, the Pandavas had installed the idols of these shrines when they set out on a pilgrimage,” he said.

Besides the local devotees, a large number of pilgrims, especially belonging to Iyyengar community (a Vaishnavaite sect) from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, also visit the shrines, collectively known as ‘Vaishnava Tirupati’.

The five temples are located in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. “Steps are already on to prepare a detailed plan for the pilgrim-tourism circuit. We will soon conduct discussions with the state and central governments to allot enough funds for the same,” Padmakumar said, adding that due to paucity of funds, poojas are carried out only once a day at Thrichittat temple now and getting more funds would be a boon for the shrine to meet its daily needs.

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