Pathanamthitta: An Ayyappa devotee was killed in a wild elephant attack on the forest pathway to the Sabarimala shrine. The victim is identified as Tamil Nadu’s Paramasivam.

The incident happened on Tuesday night at Sabarimala kanana patha (forest route). The elephant attacked the 35-year-old Paramasivam, a native of Salem, at the traditional path to Karimala.

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The attack by the elephant happened at the route usually taken by Ayyappa devotees who perform petta thullal at Erumeli and reach Sannidhanam via Karimala. Nineteen more pilgrims were travelling to the shrine with Paramasivam.

On the occasion of Makara Vilakku festival, thousands of Ayyappa devotees pass through this route. Makara Vilakku day (January 14) is considered auspicious in Sabarimala.

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The elephant attack happened near a shop where Ayyappa devotees were resting. Seeing the elephant, the devotees ran towards another shop but bumped into the elephant. Paramasivam was attacked by the tusker.

Immediately, Ayyappa Seva Sangam workers and forest officials carried Paramasivam to Mundakkayam government hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries.

Citing a wild elephant at kanana patha is not a common thing during the festival season but this is the first time that a man died due to the elephant attack. Partial restrictions have been implemented on the path due to the movement of wild elephants, especially in the Karimala region.

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Similarly, in 2018, a Chennai native Nireesh Kumar was killed in a wild elephant attack in the forest pathway on January 7, 2018.

Twelve Ayyappa devotees were also injured after the temple elephant ran amok at Appachimedu, on the trekking path between Sannidhanam and Pampa, on March 30, 2018.