A 52-year-old woman devotee from Trichy in Tamil Nadu on Saturday faced angry devotees ahead of her darshan at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple as they surrounded her before the last few hallowed steps.
Dressed in a blue saree, Latha, who was accompanied by her husband and son, was stopped as Sabarimala traditionalists were on the look-out for women within the hitherto barred ages suspected her age and started shouting Ayyappa slogans.
They surrounded her as they assumed she was below 50 years, who were for centuries barred from entering the temple.
Ever since this practice was overruled by the Supreme Court’s September 28 verdict, the hilltop shrine has turned into a war zone since October 17 when the temple doors opened for the first time after the decision.
The couple on Saturday tried to explain that Latha has not broken any rules. That she was here at the temple in the past two years, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
It was only after senior BJP leader K. Surendran and others rushed to the spot detecting the commotion that the devotees allowed Latha passage to the sanctum sanctorum after checking her identification card.
The family then went up the hallowed 18 steps and performed the darshan.
Later she said the minor disturbance ahead of her darshan has hurt her as she had taken all the penance traditionally required for the Lord Ayyappa temple pilgrimage.
Three women were on Friday stopped from visiting the Ayyappan shrine despite police protection. Temple Tantri has threatened to close the Sabarimala temple if attempts were made by women of the barred age group to perform darshan.