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Sabarimala temple to close today to mark end of Mandalam festival

Since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, the temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: December 26, 2018 8:07 IST
Sabarimala 
Image Source : FILE

Sabarimala 

Marking the culmination of the 41-day Mandalam festival, the Lord Ayyappa Shrine at Sabarimala will close at 10 pm on Wednesday after the Mandala puja. On November 15, the festival began.

On December 30 at 5 pm, the temple will reopen for the Makarvilakku festival, before finally closing on January 20.

Since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, the temple town has witnessed protests by Hindu groups.

Following protest from the believers, ever since the verdict, around three dozen women from the hitherto banned age group, have tried and failed to go up the pathway leading to the temple.

In the face of steep protests mounted by traditional Lord Ayyappa devotees, on Sunday, 11 women devotees from Tamil Nadu were sent back. 

Trouble broke out early on Monday as well, when police accompanying two women devotees from Kerala clashed with angry pilgrims after they created hurdles for the two women, who are below the age of 50, from offering prayers at the temple.

According to sources, top police officials at the temple town have written to State Police Chief Loknath Behra that with the number of pilgrims arriving daily in the temple town, estimated to be over 70,000, providing security to women devotees would be very tough. They suggested there should be no attempts to escort women from the hitherto banned age group to the temple.

The sources added that intelligence reports indicate that in the coming days many women devotees in the traditionally barred age group of 10-50 will try to visit the temple to offer their prayers to Lord Ayyappa.

(With inputs from IANS)

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