560 women sign up for Sabarimala visit
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : At least 560 women in the 10-50 years age group have applied online for darshan at the Sabarimala temple during the 3-month annual pilgrimage season that starts on November 17. A virtual queue (sabarimalaq.com) operated by the Kerala police is in place to control the flow of pilgrims, on which registrations started three days ago. So far, at least 350,000 pilgrims have registered, of whom 560 are women of reproductive age, Travancore Devasom Board officials said.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the row over allowing women of childbearing age entry into the Sabarimala temple continues to simmer, at least 500 women between the ages of 10 and 50 years have applied online for darshan during the three-month annual pilgrimage season starting November 17.
A virtual queue system (sabarimalaq.com) operated by the Kerala police is in place to control the flow of pilgrims during the season. Registrations on the portal started three days ago. So far, at least 350,000 pilgrims have registered for darshan, of whom 560 are women of reproductive age, according to Travancore Devasom Board (TDB) officials famil- iar with the matter.
According to the officials of TDB, which runs the temple, at least 1.6 million pilgrims availed themselves of the free virtual queue facility last year. Although majority of the pilgrims do not bother with online registration, at least 30% do so to avoid standing in snaking queues for six to eight hours. The queue for online pilgrims is separate. Once a pilgrim registers online using any government-issued identity and provides requisite details, a receipt is issued mentioning the timing of the trek from the base camp at Pambha.
On September 28, the Supreme Court had issued an order allow- ing women of all ages entry into Sabarimala. The temple witnessed violent protests when it opened twice since the verdict, first on October 17 and then during the just-concluded Sree Chithirayattam festival. At least 15 women have been blocked from trekking to the hilltop shrine by protesters from fringe outfits.
Kerala’s Left Democratic Front government has vowed to implement the top court order but the BJP and the Congress are backing the sections protesting the entry of women of menstruating age into the temple, on the grounds that the presiding deity, Lord Ayappa, is celibate.