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