Sabarimala shrine closes after 2-day puja

SABARIMALA (Kerala): The doorways to the Lord Ayyappa temple closed on Tuesday night after a two-day-long special puja, however no girl or girl pilgrim within the historically barred age group of 10-50 may just offer prayers at the shrine.

Melshanthi (chief priest) Unnikrishnan Namboothiri closed the portals of the sanctum sanctorum after rendering the 'Harivarasanam', the lullaby for Lord Ayyappa, the celibate deity.

Earlier, hundreds of devotees witnessed the 'padipuja', an auspicious ritual, by standing underneath the sacred 18 steps, chanting Ayyappa mantras.

The doorways of the shrine will now open on November 17 for the three-month-long Mandalam Makaravilakku celebrations when lakhs of devotees from the country and out of the country visit the place yearly.

The temple used to be opened on Monday for the annual 'Chitira Atta Thirunal" puja to celebrate the start anniversary of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the last king of Travancore.

It used to be the second time within the last three weeks that the doorways of the hill temple opened after the Supreme Court had allowed access of girls of all age teams into Sabarimala.

Though the CPM-led LDF government put in position top security arrangements to implement the verdict, protests by devotees, who accumulated in huge numbers ignoring prohibitory orders, saved young women clear of the temple advanced.

Hundreds of police personnel, including armed commandos, have been deployed within the advanced and within sight spaces to prevent any untoward incident.

Despite top security, about 200 frenzied devotees on Tuesday attempted to prevent a lady pilgrim from coming into the hill top shrine suspecting her to be of menstrual age and allegedly attacked a cameraman of a Malayalam tv information channel.

Clapping and chanting 'Ayyappa saranam', an enormous crowd of devotees shoved Lalitha Ravi (52), as police escorted her to safety.

Police at 'sannidhanam', the temple advanced, mentioned a case has been registered against 200 "identifiable" other folks in reference to the incident, in line with her grievance.

When the location went out of control, senior RSS leader Valsan Thillankeri, who has been tenting at the shrine advanced since Monday, pacified the angry agitators the use of a microphone and requested them to take care of calm.

Scores of devotees shouted at Vishnu, the cameraman of a Malayalam TV information channel, as he used to be taking visuals of their protests.

A group of younger women from Andhra Pradesh had to return from the bottom camp, Pamba, following protests this morning.

Another batch of girls from the state, elderly above 50, were prevented by devotees at 'nadappandal', the realm near sacred 18 steps, as they did not lift the 'irumudikettu' (holy package deal containing offerings).

But police later escorted the elderly women to the shrine advanced after convincing devotees.

Girls underneath 10 years and ladies above 50 have incessantly prayed at the Lord Ayyappa temple in the past. However, the access of girls of every age has turn into a delicate issue after the September 28 apex courtroom verdict.

Several newshounds have been attacked by devotees when the temple used to be opened for six days on October 17 for the first time after the SC order.

Attempts by around a dozen women, including activists and newshounds within the 10-50 age group, to script history came to nought as protests by devotees pressured them to retreat.
Sabarimala shrine closes after 2-day puja Sabarimala shrine closes after 2-day puja Reviewed by Kailash on November 07, 2018 Rating: 5
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