The forest shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala will open its door for the first time after the Supreme Court's verdict to allow menstruating women to worship in the temple
The Kerala police detained people protesting against the entry of women in the age group of 10-50 to Kerala's Sabarimala Temple on Wednesday.
The forest shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala will open its door for the first time after the Supreme Court's verdict to allow menstruating women to worship in the temple.
Nilackal, the entry point to the Sabarimala hill temple, has turned into a venue for protests by various groups that oppose the entry of younger women to the shrine. While the government is poised to implement the Supreme Court verdict, it has to be seen if women will actually enter the premises today.
Meanwhile, strong protests by Sabarimala traditionalists on Wednesday forced a 40-year-old Andhra woman and her family to abandon their trip to the Lord Ayyappa temple.
Madhavi accompanied by her parents and children began their Pamba climb on the Swami Ayyapan road leading to the hilltop temple hours ahead of its opening for the monthly puja rituals.
Ten minutes into their trek, accompanied by a strong police force, the family had to abandon their plans of praying to the Lord Ayyappa inside the temple premises accompanied by Madhavi, who is in the prohibited age group of 10-50.
The protesters had put every impediment on her way, but Madhavi was able to break the barriers at Nilackal and Pamba accompanied by police as she trekked higher.
Police officers climbing along assured her that they would be with her if she wished to proceed and she could go forward.
However, angry protesters were unrelenting. They went after her. Unable to bear the anger Madhavi decided to return.
Tribals living in the hills around Sabarimala alleged that the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board were trying to demolish centuries-old customs by allowing entry of women in the 10-50 age group into the famous Sabarimala temple.
They claimed that restrictions imposed on women in the menstruating age group were part of a custom prevailing in tribal societies living in the forests in Kerala.
They also claimed several rights of the tribal communities over the Sabarimala temple and the places associated with the hill shrine were forcibly taken away from them by the authorities of the government and the Travancore Devaswom Board that manages the temple.