Thiruvananthapuram: After witnessing unusual protests over the entry of women of menstruating age, the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala was closed on Sunday. 

The shrine will reopen on February 12 for the monthly puja in Kumbam masam (February to March).

As the temple closed, the opposition BJP ended its 49-day-long hunger strike staged in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. The party demanded the lifting of prohibitory orders and restrictions at Sabarimala, which the LDF government rejected.

Meanwhile, over 2 lakh devotees will participate in the Ayyappa Bhakta Sangamam, which is organised by the BJP and other Sangh Parivar outfits. The event is scheduled at 4 pm and will take place at Putharikandam ground.The Ayyappa devotees will participate in the ‘Nama Japa Yatra’ as part of the programme. As per reports, devotees from Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram will come for the programme, which will conclude at East Fort.  

The Supreme Court verdict on September 28 allowing the entry of women of all age groups into the famous shrine had made Sabarimala a battlefield. Meanwhile, four women in southern India made history by entering Sabarimala temple where women of menstruating age have not been allowed for centuries. 

Bindu from Kozhikode and Kanakadurga from Malappuram entered the shrine on January 2. On January 3, Sasikala, a woman from Sri Lanka, came with ‘Guruswami’ and had the darshan of Lord Ayyappa. 36-year-old Manju entered the Sabarimala shrine on January 8. 

The protest over women's entry saw many events unfold in the state as the days went by. None more so forgotten is the devotee suicide in front of the secretariat.

On December 13, an Ayyappa devotee committed suicide in front of the secretariat where the BJP leaders were protesting. The BJP also called for a state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal on December 14 over his death.