Soon after Sabrimala temple reopened, two women below the age of 50 managed to enter and offer prayers at the shrine. The two are the first to do so since the Supreme Court’s order in October 2018, ending the ban on women aged between the age of 10 and 50 inside the temple premises.
Kerala witnessed massive protests following the Supreme Court’s order that allowed women to offer prayers at Lord Ayyappa’s shrine. Multiple attempts by women devotees to enter the premises since the order were thwarted.
This is why Bindu and Kanakadurga’s entry into the temple in the wee hours of Wednesday is making headlines. According to the footage, the women did not climb the sacred 18 steps used by pilgrims who take the 41-day vow, and carry the sacred offering of ‘irumudikettu’ for the lord. Instead they used a side entrance used by VIPs and the media, which led them directly into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The temple was later shut for a while for a ‘purification’ process.
On January 1, 2019, lakhs of women joined hands to form a human chain “in support of gender equality”. Meanwhile, protests have erupted at different places in Kerala, mainly under the aegis of the RSS-backed Sabarimala Karma Samithi, against what they term the ‘violation of temple customs and traditions’.