Amid tight security arrangements, Sabarimala temple opens for prayer

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 16, 2019, 05.10 PM(IST)

Priests open Sabarimala temple for prayers. Photograph:( ANI )

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The temple has been opened for a two-month for Mandala Puja and though it has been opened by priests at 5 pm today, devotees visit from November 17.

Amid tight security arrangements, sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala Temple was opened on Saturday in Kerala's Pathanamthitta district.

The temple has been opened for a two-month for Mandala Puja and though it has been opened by priests at 5 pm today, devotees visit from November 17.

The opening of the shrine comes days after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had referred a clutch of petitions seeking review of its order which paved the way for the entry of women into Sabarimala temple in Kerala to a larger seven-judge bench by a majority 3:2 ruling.

The top court also observed that the right to worship by an individual cannot outweigh the rights of a religious group.

While Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra sent the review petitions to a larger bench, Justices Nariman and Chandrachud authored a dissenting judgment.

The review petitions challenged the authority of the apex court to intervene in the belief of the people. 

It argued that the temple deity is a "Brahmachari" (celibate) and "centuries-old beliefs" should not be disturbed by the entry of menstruating women worshippers.

The Supreme Court had lifted a traditional ban on entry of women of menstrual age (10-50 years) on September 28 last year.

Despite the apex court's ruling, a string of protests took place at the Sabarimala temple and its surrounding areas in the state, wherein several women attempted to visit the shrine but were stopped by Lord Ayyappa devotees.

Women rights activist Trupti Desai, who has been a vehement critic of the restriction on the entry of women of a certain age group in the temple, had said that she will be visiting the shrine after November 20 regardless of whether or not she is provided security cover by the state government.