The entryways of the Sabarimala temple will be opened today evening for puja on the event of a brief ritual- “Chithira Aattavisesham” tomorrow, the birthday of the last King of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma. The temple doors will be shut then at 10 pm.
The doors will reopen for darshan from November 17 for the three-month-long yearly pioneer season. Tight security has been imposed in Sabarimala and nearby areas which have seen violent protests by several Hindu organisations against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women’s entry inside the temple.
The Sabarimala Temple, where nearly 30-40 million devotees visit every year, has been following a centuries-old tradition of banishing ladies of age 10-50 years from entering the temple as the presiding deity Lord Ayyapa is viewed as a celibate. The Supreme Court over ruled this tradition on September 28. The temple is opening today for the second time since that Supreme Court order.
Hindu outfits have challenged the Supreme Court verdict of passage of ladies of menstrual age to the temple and are looking for a review of its September 28 order.
The first time the hundreds of years old blessed temple was opened after the SC order was between October 17 and October 22 . Then, due to massive protests, no lady could gently enter the sanctuary in spite of heavy security cover. Writers were bothered and media vans assaulted by protesters when the sanctuary was opened. Ladies columnists covering the event were likewise assaulted.
Ahead of the opening of Sabarimala temple today, Hindu outfits keep on challenging the section of ladies of menstrual age to the Sabarimala temple. They have asked media houses not to send young ladies columnists to cover the occasion.
In a letter sent to editors, the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a joint stage of conservative outfits, including the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Aikyavedi has stated, “Even the entry of women journalists belonging to this age group as part of their job was also likely to aggravate the situation. Recognising your right to support or oppose the devotees stand on this issue, we hope you will not take a stand which would aggravate the situation.”
Amid heightened security across the temple shrine, to ensure smooth ‘darshan’ and security of devotees the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, the BJP and the Congress have criticised such fortification.
The Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asserted that the government was committed to implementing the SC order. Devaswom (temple affairs) Minister Kadakampally Surendran has said that no young woman had approached the authorities so far seeking police protection to trek to the temple.