Sacred Belief or Menstrual Taboo: Why Women Can't Enter Sabarimala Temple?

  • 24 Dec 2018

Recent reports on women trying to enter a famous temple in Kerala which restricts them have gone viral. Apparently, the court has lifted the century-old ban and now allows women to freely enter the temple and offer their prayers. However, mass riots have erupted in opposition to the court orders.

It's none other than the famous Sabarimala, an iconic temple in the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, India. Every year, over 30 to 40 million devotees visit this sacred shrine to offer their prayers and catch a glimpse of Lord Ayyappan's statue. 

This huge crowd encompasses mostly men who observe the compulsory 41 days of religious penance before making the difficult 40km pilgrimage to the temple. Interestingly, Sabarimala is one of the very few temples in India that transcends beyond the caste system. Irrespective of any caste, everyone is equal in front of Lord Ayyappan and the devotees wear black in unison during their pilgrimage, signifying the letting go of all worldly pleasures.

So, why are women banned from the temple then? The statement itself is incorrect as not all women are banned, only those who are actively menstruating which have been set to women aged in between 10 to 50. Does that mean, menstruation is seen as unholy and dirty and hence, women are not allowed to step into the temple? Absolutely not! Unlike the claims of the uninformed public, this is not the real reason!

There are a few beliefs as to why women were restricted from going to the temple:

The Love Story

It's believed that Lord Ayyappan was born as Hariharan Puthiran to vanquish a female demon who can only be destroyed by a child born from Lord Shiva and Vishnu (as one of his avatar Mohini). Apparently, when Ayyappan killed the demon, a beautiful woman emerged. She was cursed by the demon and now free from the curse. She fell in love with Ayyappan and requested to get married.

However, Ayyappan refused, saying that he wishes to fulfill the prayers of his devotees who visit the Sabarimala and only when 'kanni swamis' stop coming to his shrine. Waiting for Him, the woman still resides at a nearby temple as Malikapurathamma.

Respecting her long wait and unconditional love, many women are said to have avoided coming to the temple completely. It's their way of showing empathy for a woman who waits for her loved one for eternity.

Renouncing All Pleasures

Another account tells that Lord Ayyappan practices celibacy as part of his renunciation of all worldly pleasures in order to completely focus on fulfilling the prayers of all his devotees. Thus, he is said to not have any form of contact with women, respecting his sacrifice, women are not allowed to enter the temple.

Judging from the beliefs, entering the Sabarimala temple will be equivalent to disrespecting Lord Ayyappan and Malikapurathamma. Which is why, the Ayyappan devotees argue that the ban was put in place by Lord Ayyappan himself and the court's inability to respect their beliefs is unacceptable. 

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!

Kindly note that this article doesn't reflect Astro Ulagam's stand on this issue.

Source: The First Post, BBC, Free Malaysia Today
Photo Credit:  News18, Lord Ayyappa Temple, God HD Wallpapers

Related Article

Astro-Seithigal-LIVE Lifestyle
  • 21 Mar 2019

Astro Seithigal LIVE

Watch Astro Seithigal LIVE everyday at 8.30PM here...

Karaga-An-Ancient-Festival-To-Thank-Water Lifestyle
  • 21 Mar 2019

Karaga, An Ancient Festival To Thank Water

Karaga, one of the oldest festivals in Karnataka, is an 11-day celebration to worship Adhi Shakti in the form of water.

Did-You-Know-1-033-Candidates-Contested-for-One-Seat-in-India-s-Elections Lifestyle
  • 21 Mar 2019

Did You Know: 1,033 Candidates Contested for One Seat in India's Elections

We have compiled some of the most amazing facts about the upcoming Indian general elections!

Why-Panguni-Uthiram-is-Celebrated Lifestyle
  • 21 Mar 2019

Why Panguni Uthiram is Celebrated?

Panguni Uthiram is an auspicious day celebrated by the Shiva and Murugan devotees. As the ‘Panguni’ natchathiram coincides with a full moon, this day has witnessed many divine marriages.

Here-s-the-REAL-Secret-Behind-Human-Calculator-Yaashwin-s-Maths-Skills Lifestyle
  • 20 Mar 2019

Here's the REAL Secret Behind Human Calculator Yaashwin's Maths Skills

"When I first applied for the auditions of Asia's Got Talent at Taylor's University, many of my friends laughed at me," said the 15-year-old Human Calculator, Yaashwin Sarawanan. 

Add-Colours-Into-Your-Life-This-Holi Bolly Lah
  • 20 Mar 2019

Add Colours Into Your Life This Holi

Holi is the festival of colour which is widely celebrated by the Hindus all over India and Nepal. However, it is also widely celebrated in Malaysia by various of people from different ethnicity.