Sabarimala: Why or Why Not Bar Women?

Bobbala Jyothirmai
Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, India.

Volume III, Issue IV, 2020

Sabarimala Temple, a Hindu temple dedicated to Ayyappan is situated in the Pathanamthitta District of Sabarimala, Kerala, India. In the past, menstruating-age female devotees were not allowed to worship here, this prohibition being said to be out of reverence for the deity’s celibate role in this temple. A high-court Kerala judgment had legalized this interpretation and since 1991 barred women from entering the temple. In September 2018, a Supreme Court of India judgment ruled that all visitors, regardless of gender, including women in the menstruating age group, should be allowed to enter Sabarimala. This ruling of the supreme court led to several protests and the women belonging to said age group when tried to reach the Sanctum Sanctorium received many physical assault threats which led to several failed attempts. Be it because it was a custom since so many years, or people personally believing the reasons that prohibited women’s entry previously, there are still many sections of people who are against the supreme court ruling. The author in the present paper goes deep into the history behind the prohibition of women’s entry into Sabarimala and the possible reasons for the same. The various arguments that are and were put forward while talking in favour or against allowing women into Sabarimala are discussed in the course of the paper.The main aim of this paper is to throw a light on various aspects that are listed previously about the hot potato “entry of women into Sabarimala”.