Pathanamthitta: The Supreme Court verdict on September 28 allowing the entry of women of all age groups into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple had made the famous shrine a battlefield. After this verdict, the Sabarimala temple opened the doors for its monthly puja (Thulam) on October 16.

Many women tried to enter the temple, but none of them reached the Sannidhanam.  Most of them returned following the protest of devotees. The temple was closed on October 21.

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Lord Ayyappa temple will be next opened on November 5 for the one-day festival of ‘Chithira Attavisesham,’ the birth anniversary celebration of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the head of the Travancore royal family. 

Earlier, after activist Trupti Desai announced that she would visit Sabarimala temple, Shiv Sena group announced that they would stage a mass suicide.

Also read: No ban on media in Sabarimala, says Kerala DGP

As per the latest reports, Kerala police have registered 543 cases and 3701 Ayyappa devotees, who participated in the agitation over Sabarimala issue in Pathanamthitta, have been arrested.

Earlier, BJP state president PS Sreedharan Pillai said, "We stand against the atheist people, and we will always be with the devotees. For 50 years, the communist party is trying to destroy the devotees’ sentiments and we won't allow that cruel act. Pinarayi Vijayan, who allowed criminals in the police force to rule the roost, cannot wash his hands of the heinous crime committed on an Ayyappa devotee.”   

The temple has been carrying decades-old ritual of closing its path to women, as believed to be followed by Lord Ayyappa himself, while he was practising celibacy and abstaining from all worldly pleasures and distractions. The Supreme Court will hear the review petitions on November 13. A total of 19 review petitions have been filed before the court.

"As a true devotee, I believe that on November 5, no women will try to enter the temple, because in those five days (October 16 - 21), no women had entered the temple because devotees had not allowed them. More than that, Lord Ayyappa won't allow women to enter his place," said Geetha Gopinathan, an Ayyappa devotee.