Pamba: Tension intensified outside the Sabarimala Temple on Saturday afternoon as a Tamil Nadu woman climbed the hills to offer prayers to the presiding deity. However, the tension was defused after the woman, who had come with her family members, convinced the protesters, gathered near the Sabarimala Sannidhanam, that she was above 50 years and proceeded to the Lord Ayyappa shrine in Kerala. Also Read - Kerala Tourism News: CM Pinayari Vijayan Launches 26 New Projects - Here's All You Need to Know

The woman carrying ‘irumudikkettu’ (holy bundle) climbed the 18 holy steps amid security cover to reach the temple and have ‘darshan’. (‘It’s Shrine of Lord Ayyappa, Not Sex Tourism,’ Snaps Former TDB President on Women Visiting Sabarimala) Also Read - Kerala Paying Price For 'Gross Negligence' During Onam: Harsh Vardhan on Easing Covid Restrictions For Festivals

However, Pathanamthitta District Collector PB Nooh denied that there was tension at Sannidhanam. “A woman came for darshan. Some news channels followed her…Then a crowd gathered…That was the only issue,” he was quoted as saying in a PTI report. Also Read - Kerala Govt Terminates Services of 432 Medical Personnel For Unauthorised Leave For Years

The Sabarimala temple complex and nearby areas including the base camps, Nilakkal and Pamba, have been witnessing high drama and tense moments since Wednesday, October 17 when the gates of the shrine were thrown open for the devotees for five-day monthly puja. Earlier on Friday, two women reached the hilltop with heavy police escort, but had to return before reaching the sanctum sanctorum following massive protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees.

On the other hand, the state has been witnessing massive protests by Lord Ayyappa devotees opposing the entry of girls and women of menstrual age into the Sabarimala temple since the government decided to implement the apex court order.

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra, on September 28 had lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine.

The portals of Sabarimala Temple will close on October 22 after the five-day monthly puja during the Malayalam month of Thulam.