Heavy rush of pilgrims in Sabarimala, 2 women sent back

Amid heavy rush of devotees to the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, police on Monday sent back two women devotees from Andhra Pradesh at Pamba as they were in the 'barred' 10-50 age group.

On Saturday, 10 women were turned back at Pamba, 5 km from the shrine, when the temple opened for the annual 'Mandala-Makaravilakku puja'.

Police checked the two women's identity cards and sent them back as they were found to be in the 'barred' age group, police sources said. Females in this age group have traditionally been barred from praying at the shrine.

In a show of support for believers, a nine-year-old Keralite girl, who came to the temple complex from Karnataka, had a placard around her neck inscribed with the words "Ready to wait. Will visit the shrine after attaining 50 years."

Hailing from Thrissur, Hridyakrishnan said she had visited the shrine thrice and would have 'darshan' of Lord Ayyappa only after she reaches 50.

Her father, Harikrishnan said devotees are those who protect traditions and beliefs.

On Saturday evening, at least 10 women, who were part of a 30-member group from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, were sent back, as they were found to be in the 'barred' age group.

(with news agency inputs)