Thiruvananthapuram: After reports surfaced that 10 women devotees who had come from Andhra Pradesh to offer prayers at Sabarimala temple were sent back from Pamba– the closest street point to Lord Ayyappa’s shrine, District Collector of Pathanamthitta Saturday said that the aforementioned women had themselves decided to go back seeing that devotees were today not being permitted to visit the temple due to rituals being carried out in the wake of the opening of the hill shrine.

It must be noted that the Sabarimala shrine was reopened on Saturday at 5 PM. The hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa is now open for devotees for a two-month pilgrim-season. They will be able to visit the temple from November 17, 5 AM.

Speaking to news agency ANI, PB Nooh, District Collector of Pathanamthitta said, “These women were with a group of pilgrims who were visiting a lot of temples in South India. After reaching here,they came to know that women aren’t allowed here due to temple rituals. So,they themselves decided to go back.”

Ahead of the opening of Sabarimala, over 10,000 police personnel were reported to have been deployed around the hill temple.

The Supreme Court had Thursday referred the Sabarimala review pleas to a larger bench, while maintaining that it will not stay the September 28, 2018 order that allowed women of age bars to enter the temple, lifting the age-old barrier.

Unlike last year when women devotees were provided security, this time, the Kerala government has made it clear that it will not make any effort to see that women were taken to the temple to pray.