Thousands of people are visiting the Sabarimala temple every day to catch a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa.

Sabarimala:  A 31-year-old woman Sunday made a failed attempt to enter the famous Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala, where female devotees in the 10-50 age group are not permitted.

The woman, a resident of West Godavari district in Telangana, was picked up from ‘sannidhanam’, the temple complex, police sources told PTI.

She was questioned and her statement recorded, they said.

According to the tradition of the temple, the entry of women in the 10-50 age group is restricted in the hillock shrine dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, considered the ‘Naishtika Brahmachari’ or the perennial celibate.

The woman, Parvathy, was not carrying the traditional “irumudi”, a small bundle containing coconut, ghee, turmeric and sandal paste which is offered to the deity. And, she took a different path to reach the ‘sannidhanam’, the police said.

Normally, devotees climb the ‘pathinettam padi’, the sacred 18 steps leading to the temple complex.

The woman, who was accompanied by her husband, two children and 11 other people from her village, told police that she was unaware of the restrictions with regard to women of the banned age group at the shrine.

On suspicion, police checked her identity card which showed she was only 31 years old.

The entry of women is strictly monitored by police at Pampa before they begin to trek Sabarimala to reach the shrine.

Temple sources were clueless on how the woman managed to reach near the shrine defying the police monitoring and stringent checks.

Marking the beginning of the pilgrimage season, the Sabarimala temple opened on November 15 for the three-month annual ‘Mandalam-Makaravilakku’ festival.

Thousands of people across the country are visiting the hillock shrine every day to catch a glimpse of Lord Ayyappa and offer prayers.

The ban on the issue of entry of women in the age group has been challenged in the Supreme Court, which had on October 13 referred it to a constitution bench.

‘Bhumata Brigade’ leader and woman activist Trupti Desai had said she would enter Sabarimala defying restrictions on the entry of women of the banned age group.

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