31-year-old woman makes unsuccessful attempt to enter Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala

Sabarimala: A 31-year-old woman on Sunday made a vain attempt to enter the famous Lord Ayyappa Temple, where female devotees in the 10-50 years age group are not permitted.

The woman, a native of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, was stopped near 'Pathinettam Padi', the sacred 18 steps leading to the temple complex, and sent back, police said.

As per the temple tradition, entry of women in the 10-50 age group is restricted in the shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is considered a 'Naishtika Brahmachari' (perennial celibate).

 31-year-old woman makes unsuccessful attempt to enter Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala

Crowds at the Sabarimala temple. Reuters

The woman was stopped and sent back after it was found that she was only 31 years old as per her identity card, police said.

"The woman was stopped before climbing 'Pathinettam Padi'. Her identity card was immediately examined and it was found that she belonged to the restricted age group," Pathanamthitta Deputy Commissioner of Police S Sateesh Bino said.

He did not divulge further details.

Temple sources said the woman had come along with her family members.

Entry of women is strictly monitored by police at Pampa river before they begin to trek Sabarimala to reach the shrine. Temple sources were clueless on how the woman managed to reach near the shrine, defying police monitoring and stringent checks.

Marking the beginning of the pilgrimage season, the Sabarimala Temple opened on November 15 for the three-month annual 'Mandalam-Makaravilakku' festival. Thousands of people across the country are visiting the hillock shrine every day to catch a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa and offer worship.

The restricted entry of women in the famed temple has been challenged in the Supreme Court, which had on 13 October referred the matter to a constitution bench.

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Updated Date: Nov 19, 2017 21:44:25 IST