Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters.
Two women in their 40s on Wednesday entered Kerala's Sabarimala temple sparking violent clashes. It was the first time that women aged between 10 and 50 entered the Lord Ayyappa temple in Kerala since Supreme Court overturned a ban in September last year. The dramatic pre-dawn entry by the two women, Bindu and Kanaka Durga, helped by policemen wearing civilian clothes, led to angry reactions from opposition parties. Bindu and Kanaka Durga said they had 'darshan' at 3.30 am, away from the media glare. Protests erupted across Kerala soon after news of the women trekking to the hill shrine spread. The temple itself was closed for over an hour for "purification". Thiruvananthapuram underwent a tense standoff that has lasted over four hours, with neither side showing any sign of backing down.
Here are HIGHLIGHTS from Sabarimala Temple:
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala says the entry of the women into the shrine "hurt" the sentiments of devotees and it shows the headstrong attitude of the chief minister to take women of the traditionally "barred" age group to the temple.
"Who took them to the temple just after the women's wall? They were absconding for many days after their first attempt to trek the hill on December 24. It's clear that the women were under police protection. Police acted on behalf of chief minister's direction. This was a result of the obstinate attitude of the chief minister," Mr Chennithala says.
Senior CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat says every woman has the right to worship at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala. "(The) two women wanted to worship and they were enabled to do so and given the security required (by the Kerala government)," the CPI(M) leader said.
The police fire tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon as protests and clashes erupt across Kerala. Violent clashes were reported between scores of people in front of the state parliament in Thiruvananthapuram. Protests with sporadic violence were also reported in several other towns across the state.
Both women, who entered the temple today, had tried to visit Sabarimala in the last week of December, but had been blocked by massive protests. The temple reopened on December 30 for the Makaravilakku festival and there has been a heavy rush of pilgrims since then.
BJP workers wave black flags at Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran in Guruvayur where he has gone to attend a function. Health minister KK Shylaja also faces the ire of activists of the Yuva Morcha, the party's youth wing at Kannur, who showed black flags.
BJP workers also took out a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram. In Kasaragod, they blocked the traffic on the national highway.
BJP supporters hold protests outside secretariat in Kerala.
Five BJP Mahila Morcha members, protesting against two women entering the Sabarimala Temple today, have been stopped from entering the state secretariat by the police in Thiruvananthapuram.
Activist and leader of the Ayyappa Dharma Sena Rahul Easwar says: "We condemn this leftist drama..."
Sabarimala Temple reopens after "purification process", say Devaswom Board sources.
According to news agency Reuters, the Bharatiya Janata Party's Kerala president PS Sreedharan Pillai has called for protests after two women entered the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
He calls it "a conspiracy by the atheist rulers to destroy the Hindu temples" and says his party will "support the struggles against the destruction of faith by the Communists."
"Let all the devotees come forward and protest this," Mr Pillai says.
"It is the responsibility of police to give protection to those who come and we did it. Verifying the age and other details is not our responsibility," says Kerala director general of police Lokanath Behera, according to news agency ANI.
"We did not enter the shrine by climbing the 18 holy steps but went through the staff gate," one of the women told local media, according to news agency AFP.
Kerala's Sabarimala Temple has been shut for "purification" rituals, according to news agency ANI.
The temple was shut after two women devotees in their 40s entered the temple in the early morning hours today.
According to AFP, a spokesman for the temple's management, Sasikumar Varma, had earlier said if priests confirmed women had entered Sabarimala "necessary purification rituals will be done."
Confirming their visit, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said: "It is a fact that the women entered the shrine. Police are bound to offer protection to anyone wanting to worship at the shrine."
Bindu and Kanaka Durga, both in their early 40s, entered the hilltop shrine early this morning around 3.45 am. A video accessed by NDTV shows the women hurrying into the shrine, dressed in all-black and escorted by the police. A group of protesters also appear to be at the spot.