Over 100 pilgrims were killed on a January night, 2011 in the stampede at Pulmedu, one of the vantage points on the route to Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple, for witnessing the "Makarajyothi". On January 14, 1999, 52 pilgrims were killed following the crashing of a hillock under pressure of the jam-packed crowd of thousands of pilgrims who had opted the spot in Pampa for witnessing the "Makarajyothi".

The Sabarimala temple complex (circled) surrounded by forests, as seen from Ponnambalamedu, a hill-top east of the Sannidhanam. It is here that the Makarajyothi is traditionally sighted on Makaravilakku day. The square cement platform here, used to light the fire, was built by the Travancore Devaswom Board in the 1990s, it has now been stated. This picture was taken in 2006 after an arduous climb through the shola forest along with certain officials, with due permission
The disclosure, obviously with the approval of the then Devaswom Minister and the Travancore Devaswom Board authorities, had given the golden opportunity to the Kerala Government and the Travancore Devaswom Board to put an end to the biggest fraud being perpetrated for decades on the millions of innocent Sabarimala pilgrims and other believers.The gullible pilgrims had believed till then that the light that appeared on the eastern horizon thrice was divine. Makarajyothi and Makara Vilakku were synonyms for them. The nuances of the difference were never aired by none. In fact, the pilgrims were forced by several sections of people to believe that the light was divine and a miracle.The role of the media in drumming up the frenzy over the light is not negligible. Every year, on the next day of the Makara Samkranthi the newspapers used to come out with the screaming headlines of the sighting of the "divine light".

 Technological advancement has facilitated the publication of colourful photographs by the print media. Full credit must go to All India Radio for launching for the first time the live broadcast of the Makara Samkranthi evening ceremony of sighting the "divine" light. The advent of the visual media further cemented the myth surrounding the light by the live telecast of the event. Those who were unable to go to Sabarimala Sannidhanam and Pampa Top sat with folded hands in front of their TVs to see the divine light.The crescendo of Ayyappa cult used to peak on the Samkranthi Day evening just because of the "divine light". The pilgrims used to scan by straining their eyelids the eastern horizon for the rarest of rare moment, ignoring even the most auspicious deeparadhana which was in progress in the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Ayyappa! Millions of pilgrims, especially from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, used to camp at all the vantage points in and around Sabarimala and Pampa to catch a glimpse of the "Makarajyothi" even a week before the Samkranthi Day.The camping of pilgrims had thrown up problems of crowd management and security. The overcrowding had led to the Samkranthi tragedy, which claimed 52 lives, on the Pampa Hill Top on January 14,1999.

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Who should be held guilty for one of the greatest unpardonable crimes against the pilgrims?Murder charges should be framed against those who conspire to allow this fraud to continue. But against whom?
The scope for making easy money in an overcrowded condition was never missed by the petty traders from Pampa to Sannidhanam. Fleecing of pilgrims and supply of low quality food has become the trade mark of the peak time of Sabarimala pilgrimage. Old timers such as the Melsanthi of the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple in the early 1950s recall that the divine light had not been sighted during his priesthood. 
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