Sabarimala temple opens for devotees

    at 2:04 pm

    New Delhi (NVI): The Sabarimala shrine, which has been embroiled in controversy over entry of women into it, opened for a two-month-long pilgrim season at 5 PM this evening amid heavy bandobast.

    The CPI(M)-led LDF Kerala government has been making preparations to make it a hassle-free experience, even as it indicated on Friday that it would not “take young women to the Sabarimala temple” in view “grey areas” in the related observations of Supreme Court that recently referred the issue of entry of women in the shrine to a larger 7-judge bench.

    Last year, the government had said it would implement the top court’s order, which allowed women to enter the shrine.

    The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the Ayyappa shrine, has also sought legal opinion on the apex court’s directive.

    The board has made elaborate arrangements to provide maximum amenities to the devotees. The pilgrims will be allowed to leave for the shrine from Pamba and Nilackal by 2 pm today. The resting places for the devotees at Nilackal, Pamba and Sannidhanam have already been set up along with medical, water and toilet facilities.

    Over 10,000 police personnel have been posted in and around the Lord Ayyappa temple for security purposes during the pilgrim season.

    Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran made it clear Friday that Sabarimala was not a place for activists to display their activism and said the government would not encourage such women who want to visit the shrine for publicity.