Sabarimala temple opened Friday evening amid tight security for the two-month long pilgrim season even as the standoff continued over the entry of women of menstrual age .
The shrine opened at 5 pm in the presence of head priest Kandararu Rajeevaru amid chants of “Swamiyae Ayyappa” by the large number of devotees present there.
The 41-day mandalam festival will conclude on December 27 evening after Mandala pooja, to reopen on December 30 ahead of the Makaravilakku festival that will be celebrated on January 14. The shrine will then close on January 20, when the pilgrim season will end. Lakhs of devotees throng the shrine around that time.
The shrine opened for the third time since the Supreme Court allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the temple, triggering massive protests by devotees and others. As a result, unprecedented security arrangements have been made at the shrine and along the route to avoid any untoward incident.
In the morning, activist Trupti Desai reached Kerala to visit Sabarimala temple along with six other women. The group, however, could not leave the airport even after 12 hours as protesters waited outside the airport to stop her from heading to Sabarimala. She later told television channels that the police had requested her to go back citing law and order problem. She said she was considering the request and would take a final decision after discussing with her group members.
Breaking News — Talked with Trupti Desai in @CNNnews18 .. she is considering to go back and will announce by 6 30 pm
Big victory for Swamy Ayyappa devotees. #SaveSabarimala
Victory for mothers & sisters protesting at Kochi airport
— Rahul Easwar (@RahulEaswar) November 16, 2018
Meanwhile, the temple’s Devaswom Board met on Friday and decided to approach the Supreme court seeking more time to implement its order allowing women of all age groups to enter Sabarimala.