In the backdrop of a controversial Supreme Court judgment, the Sabarimala temple of Kerala is scheduled to open today at 5 pm for women devotees of all age group. However there has been mixed responses and protests against the verdict of the Supreme Court.
A meeting by the temple body, Travancore Devaswom Board with various stakeholders including the Pandalam royal family and Ayyappa devotees failed to come to a conclusion on the matter yesterday.
To prevent girls and women from visiting the holy Hindu shrine devotees took the streets on Tuesday and screened vehicles.7 protesters were arrested this morning. In a press meet on tuesday, Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan said that the government will ensure facilities to allow all devotees to go to Sabarimala shrine today and that government will not submit a review petition.
The Supreme Court lifted a centuries-old ban on girls and women of menstruating age from visiting the temple.
To ensure safe passage to women pilgrims, the base camp at Nilakkal is being guarded by hundreds of policewomen which is the main access point around 20 km from the shrine.
According to reports college students and women journalists were stopped about 20 km away from the temple, which is set in the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats.
The restrictions on women entering the Sabarimala shrine reflect an archaic belief that menstruating women are “impure” and the deity Ayyappa is celibate. Many take a vow of celibacy for 41 days before beginning a trek through the mountains to the temple.
(Featured image: NDTV.com)