Devotees trek from Nilakkal base camp towards Sabarimala Temple.
Sabarimala temple reopens today for two days after weeks of violent protests against the entry of women of menstruating age hit the shrine. A massive security has been put in place in anticipation of protests. Over 1,000 security personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women, have been called in to maintain order. It is the second time that the temple will open after the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the shrine.
The police banned gatherings of four or more people at Sabarimala and nearby areas on Saturday. It is expected to open at 5 pm today for a special puja due tomorrow and will close at 10 pm after it. Meanwhile, protestors have begun gathering at Nilakkal base camp.
Here are the Highlights on Sabarimala Temple Opening:
Kandararu Rajeevaru, chief priest of Sabarimala Temple said that,"I only discussed that (closing the temple if women between 10-50 years of age come to sanctum sanctorum) matter with my family members and I did not discuss anything with the BJP chief of Kerala and I have nothing more to add to it."
A 26 year old woman has come with her family to Pamba. The family is now at the police control room. Police officials are meeting in Pamba regarding this situation.
IG Ajith Kumar says that, "Adequate security has been made at Sabarimala for facilitating 'darshan' of all devotees.."
Devotees climb the sacred Pathinettam Padi to enter Sabarimala Temple to offer prayers. The temple, which opened this evening, will be closed after the 'Athazha puja' tomorrow evening.
Sabarimala temple Reopens
Sabarimala shrine opens for two day rituals. More than 1,000 police personnel deployed for security at Sabarimala. Atleast 12 women tried to enter the temple last month, none could make history as they were blocked and heckled by close to a thousand protesters who had stationed themselves inside the temple as devotees.
After its opening today, the temple will close tomorrow at 10 PM.
Hours ahead of the one-day special pilgrimage of the Sabarimala temple, devotees facing Kerala Police's questions and checking protested on Monday.
The Kerala High Court has said that devotees and media at Sabarimala Temple should not be blocked and the government should not interfere in day to day activities of the temple.
The temple had witnessed high drama last month following frenzied protests leading to around a dozen women in the age group of 10-50 being prevented from reaching it.
At least 15 women police personnel, who are over 50 years of age, have been deployed at 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex).
Director General of Police Loknath Behara has said no restriction of any sort has been imposed on media persons.
"To ensure necessary protection to the media, we are not allowing them now. As soon as security arrangements are complete, media will be allowed in Sabarimala and nearby places," he said.
Media personnel were not allowed to leave Nilackal for Pamba and 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex) from the base camp till 9 am this morning.
Devotees, who arrived at Erumeli on Sunday, protested this morning for not being allowed to leave for Pamba and Sannidhanam. They blocked traffic chanting 'Ayyappa Sarnam'.
"We have been waiting since last evening. We were told that we would be allowed to leave at 6 am. Now, they are telling us that KSRTC buses will be allowed to leave only by 12 pm. We have come to offer prayers to Lord Ayyappa. Please allow us to go," an angry devotee said.
About 3,700 people have been arrested and 545 cases registered in connection with last month's violence.
A large number of women police is also present at Sabarimala.
Devotees have begun the trek from Nilakkal base camp to Sabarimala Temple. The temple will open today evening and will be closed after the 'Athazha puja' tomorrow evening.
Heavy security has been put in place.
Devotees have begun to gather at Nilakkal base camp as Sabarimala Temple is set to open today.