Women And Sabarimala

An age old discipline that is still followed at Sabarimala is the ban on the entry of young women to the hill shrine. In fact, eves are not allowed even in to the poonkavanam or forest around Sannidhanamm, making Sabarimala the only temple in India where women aged between 10 and 50 cannot visit. The ban has always been a controversial issue and a heavy demand to revoke it was raised by many a feminist organisation.

However, the Devaswom and other agencies connected with Sabarimala have been successful in resisting this demand.One of the main reasons cited to justify this traditional stand is the duration of period of penance. Tradition insists on 41-day severe penance before undertaking the pilgrimage.The fact that it is womanly impossible to stick on to a strict routine laid down against a conservative Hindu background, especially the stigma attached to menstruation, is cited as one reason for restricting women's entry. 

 Similarly, the six-km trek from Pamba to Sannidhanam through hazardous forest path is physically a demanding task. However, this argument will not hold good in today's world abundant with examples of Amazonian talents. Presiding priest of Sabarimala Tantri Kandararu Rajeevararu points out the exact reason: ``Millions of devotees throng Sabarimala during the pilgrimage. And presence of women among them can lead to law and order problems as not everybody, however ardent devotee he is, need not behave decently with women.''The concept about Ayyappa as installed at Sabarimala is that of a brahmachari in penance. The lore also says that he has vowed to remain a bachelor. People cite these reasons also to justify the ban on women's entry.


۩ Ayyappa DevoteeZ ۩

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