Woman tries to enter Sabarimala temple

Woman tries to enter Sabarimala temple

A 31-year-old woman on Sunday made a vain attempt to enter the Lord Ayyappa Temple here, where woman devotees in the 10-50 age group are not permitted.

Parvathy, a resident of West Godavari district in Telangana, was picked up from 'sannidhanam', the temple complex, police sources said. She was questioned and her statement recorded.

According to the tradition of the temple, the entry of women in 10-50 age group is restricted in the hillock shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, considered 'Naishtika Brahmachari' or perennial celibate.

The woman was not carrying the traditional "irumudi", a small bundle containing coconut, ghee, turmeric and sandal paste which is offered to the deity. She took a different path to reach the sannidhanam, police said. Normally, devotees climb the 'pathinettam padi', the sacred 18 steps leading to the temple complex.

The woman, who was accompanied by her husband, two children and 11 other people from her village, told police that she was unaware of the restrictions to women at the shrine. On suspicion, police checked her identity card which showed she was only 31 years old.

The entry of women is monitored by police at Pampa before they begin to trek Sabarimala to reach the shrine. Temple sources were clueless as to how the woman managed to reach near the shrine defying the stringent checks.

Marking the beginning of the pilgrimage season, the Sabarimala temple opened on November 15 for the three-month annual 'Mandalam-Makaravilakku' festival. Thousands of people across the country are visiting the shrine every day to catch a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa and offer prayers.

The ban on the entry of women was challenged in the Supreme Court, which had on October 13 referred it to a constitution bench. 'Bhumata Brigade' leader Trupti Desai had said that she would enter Sabarimala, defying restrictions.

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