First woman to scale Ker­ala’s men-only peak to­day

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - [email protected] times­group.com

Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram: Agasth­yarkoodam peak will be scaled by a woman for the first time on Tues­day. Dhanya Sanal, along with 99 male trekkers, will start her trek to Ker­ala’s sec­ond-high­est peak from the Athiru­mala base camp.

Sanal is an In­dian In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice of­fi­cer work­ing with the de­fence min­istry. Her batch had pro­ceeded to the base camp, 16km away from the en­try point at Bonacaud, on Mon­day morn­ing. The trekkers are ex­pected to fin­ish the 8km steep climb by Tues­day noon.

Of the 4,700 peo­ple who have reg­is­tered for the soughtafter an­nual wild trekking ex­pe­di­tion, 100 are women. Per day, only 100 peo­ple are al­lowed to un­der­take the trek. An­other batch, which in­cludes three women, will pro­ceed to Athiru­mala on Thurs­day.

Like in Sabari­mala, there have been protests against a ‘ban’ on women to trek Agasth­yarkoodam for ‘breach of rit­u­als sim­i­lar to that in Sabari­mala’. Only men, above the age of 14, are al­lowed the trek. The trek is led by Agasth­yarkoodam Kshetra Kanikkar Trust.

The Ker­ala HC, on Novem­ber 30 last year, al­lowed women to be a part of the trek to this 1,868-me­tre peak.

An­tha­rashtriya Hindu Par­ishad held a protest, declar­ing sol­i­dar­ity with the Kani tribe say­ing that a group of athe­ists, with the sup­port of the CPM gov­ern­ment, were try­ing to breach tra­di­tions and rit­u­als in Sabari­mala and Agasth­yarkoodam. Mem­bers of Kani com­mu­nity also staged a protest.

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