Earlier, pilgrims had to travel at least 150 km to reach the shrine from Kochi, the nearest city with an airport. The shrine is visited by Lakhs of people every year. The biggest rush is during the November-January season.
In February, the state cabinet had given approval for setting up a new airport. Later, a three-member committee appointed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had identified three possible locations for it. Tenders have been issued for the project.
But the land in question is disputed with the government claiming ownership over it in court.
The Sabrimala Devasom Board, which manages the temple, has argued that the ban is a custom and no court can interfere in religious customs. The Supreme Court, which was examining the issue, has reserved its judgment.
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