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Sabrimala Temple

Sabrimala Temple is a famous Hindu temple situated on a hilltop in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. The temple is surrounded by almost eighteen hills in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, one of the well-known reserves of India. The temple is said to be dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, who is the God of growth. From all around the world, the temple attracts Hindu pilgrims in the days of Mandalapooja in November-December, Makara Sankranti on January 14, Maha Vishuva Sankranti on April 14, and the first five days of each Malayalam month.

Origin of Sabrimala Temple

The temple is said to be of ancient origin. In fact, for almost three centuries, reaching Sabrimala temple was almost impossible because there was no way. But, then in the 12th century, a prince of the Pandalam Dynasty named, Manikandan, rediscovered the original path to reach Sabarimala Temple. Interestingly, this Prince is considered an Avatar of Lord Ayyappa. It is also believed that Prince Manikandan meditated at Sabarimala Temple and became one with the most divine.

Beliefs Followed in the Sabrimala Temple

It is believed that the pilgrims have to observe celibacy for forty-one days before going to Sabrimala Temple. At the same time, they are also required to follow a strict Lacto-vegetarian diet, refrain from consuming alcohol, let their hairs and nails grow and not cut them. Apart from doing all this, the pilgrims are also required to bathe twice a day and visit local temples daily before en routing to Sabrimala Temple. Once the pilgrims have reached Sabrimala Temple, they only wear black or blue clothes and do not shave until the completion of their pilgrimage. Also, all the pilgrims smear vibhuti or sandal paste on their foreheads.

Entrance of Women in the Sabrimala Temple

For centuries, there has been a strict ban on the entrance of women in the premises of Sabrimala Temple. This is because it is believed that Lord Ayyappa, who is the main deity, was celibate. In fact, in 1991, the Kerala High Court restricted entry of women above the age of 10 and below the age of 50 saying that this is the menstruating age. But, in 2018, the Supreme Court lifted the ban saying that discrimination against women on any grounds, even religious is unconstitutional. To this, the head priest of Sabrimala temple showed his disappointment. Moreover, this took a political turn when Shiv Sena, a political party of India, warned of "mass suicides" if women set foot inside the Sabarimala temple. Following this, protests intensified near the date of opening gates for women as hundreds of women devotees set their way to reach the temple.

Keywords: Sabrimala Temple, Shiv Sena, Supreme Court of India, Beliefs, Women, Hindu Temple


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