Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple

Sabarimala: Indian women make history by entering temple

"Those who have tried to purify the temple today after the women entered are standing against the constitution of this country".

The police sources in Thiruvananthapuram, quoting DGP Loknath Behara, said details were being collected on the issue. The court ordered the temple to immediately admit women of all ages, but since then, "hundreds of thousands of protesters, male and female devotees and some right-wing Hindu politicians have turned out to block women from approaching the temple", NPR previously reported. They reached Sannidhanam at around 3.30 am, and made it clear that the darshan was made at around 3.50 am.

One of the ways to enter the temple is to climb 18 holy steps - a sacred activity requiring a rigorous 41-day fast. Until now, they were not capable to enter due to protests. I have been watching these two women, Bindu and Kanaka for the courage they have, for their determination.

Confirming their entry, the chief minister told reporters "it is a fact that the women have entered the temple".

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Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed Bindhu and Kanakadurga entered the temple.

Priests and many devotees are of the opinion that women should not be allowed to enter the temple as Lord Ayyappa is a celibate.

Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan said the tantri had no right to close the temple.

Opponents of the ruling say the celibacy of the temple's presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa, is protected by India's Constitution, and that women of all ages can worship at other Hindu temples. They are the first women to do so in several decades. "But whichever route they claim to enter is anyway heavily guarded by the police", Sabarimala executive officer D Sudheesh Kumar said. "If it is true, it's not just the start of a New Year but of a new era", said writer Sethu. "If this is true, those who are behind this action will have to face a protest in the coming days from the true believers for hurting them". In Kasaragod, they blocked traffic on the national highway.

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The Makaravillaku will be held on Januaury 14 and the shrine will be closed at 7 am on Januaury 20.

Manithi Selvi, who attempted to enter the temple last month but had to back down after being hounded by violent protesters, hailed the duo's entry as a "brave feat".

The temple, which attracts millions of Hindu pilgrims each year, is dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, "a Hindu god who devotees believe is celibate and can not have contact with women of menstruating age", writes NPR's Lauren Frayer.

Thousands of men also formed a second "human wall" to show solidarity, the Times of India reported.

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Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Women in Kerala formed a "human chain" in support of gender equality How did these women get into the temple?

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