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Sabarimala stampede is the human stampede that occurred at Sabarimala temple in Kerala in 1999. On 14 January 1999, 53 persons, the majority of them from outside Kerala, died in the stampede at the Pamba base camp caused by, among other things, the collapse of the sides of a hillock.
The landslide occurred while some 200,000 male Hindu pilgrims were gathered around the holy site on a hill.
The worshippers were watching for what they believed to be a celestial light at the Sabarimala shrine in Kerala state.
The stampede tragedy happened immediately after the sighting of the Makarajyothi, a bright light that the devotees consider divine, at Ponnambalamedu on the eastern part of the Ayyappa Sannidhanam
According to the final report of the Commission, appointed by the State Government, “the cause of the tragedy was the heavy over-crowding at the Hill Top and the crowd rushing down through the slanting area from the Hill Top to the ground below. Some people stumbled and others fell over them”.
The Hill Top, in possession of the Travancore Dewasom Board (TDB) was under the permissive possession of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for erecting a sub-station there.
“The specific cause which led to the incident was the rushing down of the pilgrims after seeing the Makarajyothi from the hill top to the plane below through the slanting slope. They were rushing down to the ground to get into their vehicles at the earliest. The Commission is of the opinion that this tragedy would not have caused but for the lapses on the part of the state, TDB and the KSEB in their duty to take care. Heavy crowds in the circumstances should have been anticipated by these authorities. It was a foreseeable matter. There was lapse to take reasonable care in the matter.”