Sabarimala
The sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple was closed at 10.30am for an hour.
Sreekesh

The sanctum sanctorum of the Sabarimala temple was closed on Wednesday just hours after two women below the age of 50 entered the shrine. It was shut to carry out ‘purification’ rituals. According to reports, the sanctum sanctorum was closed around 10.30am as opposed to 1pm, when it is usually shut. Following an hour-long 'purification' ritual, the sanctum sanctorum was reopened just before 11.30am. 

Priests at Sabarimala temple told Asianet News that the closing of the sanctum sanctorum had never taken place before. It was just before 10.30am on Wednesday when all priests exited the sanctum sanctorum with the maelshanti (chief priest) going to the Thantri’s room. Asianet News reported that scores of devotees, who had lined up to enter the shrine, were made to wait outside the sanctum sanctorum. Kerala police have reportedly told devotees who were denied the chance to conduct the darshan owing to the sanctum sanctorum being shut, will be allowed to do so again. Following the rituals, devotees have since been allowed to enter the Sannidhanam. 

CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that the closing the sanctum sanctorum is against the verdict of the Supreme Court, and that proceedings of contempt of court must be initiated against the Thantri.

Months after the September 2018 verdict of the Supreme Court allowing the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, two women in their early forties entered the temple in the wee hours of Wednesday. Bindu and Kanakadurga, both below 50 years of age, entered the temple before 4 am on Wednesday.

Videos showed the two women, dressed in black clothes, at the sannidhanam, and were reportedly accompanied by policemen in mufti. Police sources told TNM that the women, entered sannidhanam through the north entrance of the temple. It is, however, not clear how and when they reached Pamba and started the ascent to the shrine.

The news of the entry of Bindu and Kanakadurga into the temple was also confirmed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

On December 24, the two women —  42-year-old Bindu from Koilandy and 44-year-old Kanakadurga from Angadipuram in Malappuram district — were stopped from entering the temple, as just as they were about to reach the sannidhanam, massive protests broke out. The protests erupted on Chandranandan road, which connects Marakootam and sannidhanam.