I was in Sabarimala over the weekend for the annual pilgrimage. Sabarimala is one of the most popular pilgrimage spots in South India, attracting over 50 million people every year and undoubtedly one of the largest human gatherings in the globe. The temple is situated on a hill-top and has been facing difficulties accommodating devotees who pour in at the rate of about 90 people per every minute. Several initiatives have been taken by the authorities in the recent past the manage the increasing crowd, de-congest the place to make space for the pilgrims. One such initiative has been to relocate the shops beyond the periphery wall.
This naturally should have hit the sales and the shops are invariably forced to think out of the box to boost sales. Here is one such shop
What you see below is a pilgrim shelter the boundary of which is indicated by the yellow line. There is a shop that sells steel vessels (used by pilgrims to carry the offerings back home) above the boundary wall indicated by the red arrow. The pilgrims spent time in the shelter and it is likely that they would buy the vessels there than to walk up the row of shops above.
So this shop people have figured out a way. Firstly, they have displayed all the vessels on the walls for pilgrims to choose. Then there are two people sitting on the wall mid way. The pilgrims can communicate with them – choose a vessel, enquire the price, bargain etc. Once the deal is fixed, the transaction is carried out using a bucket and a rope
The money is put in to the bucket and the change and the vessel is delivered back.
This is called grass root innovation.
A policeman who saw me taking this picture simply smiled, because the law only forbids selling anything within the shelter and the wall definitely was not covered under the rule !