Scripting history, two women in their 40s entered the Lord Ayyappa temple in Kerala on early Wednesday and offered prayers. Speaking to media, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said “it is a fact that the women have entered the temple”.
Following the entry of two women at the shrine, the chief priest has decided to close the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in order to perform the ‘purification’ ceremony.
The temple which opened at 3 am was closed at 10.30 am for performing the ritual. Normally, the shrine closes at 12.30 pm. As the purification ceremony was on, devotees were asked to move out of the shrine.
Despite the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on September 28 last year, permitting women in the 10-50 age group, no children or young women in the ‘barred’ group were able to offer prayers at the shrine following frenzied protests by devotees and right-wing outfits.
The women trekked to the hill a day after the state-sponsored 620 km-long human wall of women was formed Tuesday from Kasargode in the northern part of the state till the southernmost district of Thiruvananthapuram.
The two women, identified as Kanakadurga (42) and Bindu (42), wearing the traditional black dress, with their head covered, are said to have climbed the hill shrine at 3.38 am Wednesday.
Police have provided security to the homes of the two women fearing possible protests.
On December 24 last year, the two women had unsuccessfully tried to offer prayers at the shrine.
The Lord Ayyappa temple had opened for the 22-day “Makaravilakku” festival on December 30, three days after the conclusion of the 41-day “mandala puja”.
Following the top court verdict allowing women of all ages to offer prayers at the shrine, the CPI(M)-led LDF government had decided to implement the verdict, which was strongly opposed by the main opposition Congress and the BJP.