Thiruvananthapuram: The Sabarimala Temple opens on Tuesday for the monthly worship in the backdrop of the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) taking a U-turn and backing the Supreme Court’s decision of allowing women of all age groups to enter the shrine.
The TDB said it was bound to implement any order given by the apex court. Meanwhile, on February 6, the Supreme Court had reserved its judgment on the petitions seeking review of its verdict.
Beginning today, the Lord Ayyappa shrine will be open for five days till February 17 for the monthly puja during the Malayalam month of Kumbam, said the temple authorities.
The sanctum sanctorum of the hilltop shrine will be opened by chief priest Vasudevan Nampoothiri today evening. Tantri or the head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru will also be present during the time of pujas. Several special rituals including ”kalabhabhishekam”, ”sahasrakalasam” and ”laksharchana” would be performed during the five days.
State police have beefed up the security in and around Sabarimala. A few restrictions have already been imposed in areas from Nilakkal, the base camp to Sannidhanam (temple complex), to ensure smooth darshan for devotees.
An official release said, “Considering the untoward incidents caused by various organisations in areas around Sabarimala when the shrine was opened for the Thulamasa puja and the protests over the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all ages into the shrine, certain restrictions have been imposed in areas to ensure smooth darshan for devotees.”
Devotees and reporters would be allowed to travel from Nilakkal to Pamba and Sannidhanam only after 10 AM on February 12, the release further said. The Lord Ayyappa temple was closed on January 20 after the over two-month-long stormy annual pilgrimage season ended.
The National Ayyappa Devotees’ Association had moved to the Supreme Court seeking a recall of its order which reserved verdict on pleas seeking review of an earlier judgement, allowing women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple, on the ground that NADA was not allowed to advance arguments in the hearing.