Pathanamthitta: A large number of devotees thronged the Sabarimala temple on Saturday evening after the priest opened the holy shrine for the annual Mandala Pooja.
At 5 pm, Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu opened the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, and performed the puja.
Thousands of devotees from Tamil Nadu and other neighbouring states also reached the temple and offered prayers to Lord Ayyappa. Devotees were allowed to trek the mountain from 2 pm, climbed the sacred 18 steps to the temple with the “irumudikettu” (sacred bag containing the offerings to the Lord) after the priests performed the “padipuja”.
Earlier in the day, at the Pamba base camp, a group of people from Vijayawada came and after checking their identity cards, the police sent back 10 young women.
Women’s rights activist Trupti Desai, who has always been a vehement critic of the restriction on the entry of the women in the temple, has signalled that she will enter the temple at any cost even if there is no security provided.
The Supreme Court referred the pleas to a 7-judge Constitutional bench on November 14. Justice Nariman and Justice Chandrachud gave dissenting verdicts. The Supreme Court said, “…the entry of women into places of worship is not limited to this temple, it is involved in the entry of women into mosques and Parsi temples.”