THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An authentic age proof document is now a must for women visiting the famed Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala in Kerala, where the entry of female devotees in the age group of 10-50 is banned.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the shrine, has decided to make the age proof mandatory during the ongoing pilgrim season in view of the increasing instances of women devotees trying to trek to the hillock shrine defying the restrictions.
Women in the menstruating age group are restricted from offering prayers at Sabarimala because the presiding deity, Lord Ayyappa is considered to be a ‘naishtika brahmachari’ (perennial celibate).
TDB President A Padmakumar said any authentic document or certificate including Aadhaar card is acceptable during the routine checks at the foothills of Sabarimala temple.
“The decision was taken in view of a number of women belonging to the banned age group trying to visit the shrine recently,” he said.”Carrying an authentic age proof will help avoid unnecessary arguments between women pilgrims and the police and Devaswom officials,” TDB president A Padmakumar said.