Swamy Ayyappa Devotees
  Restrictions to Women Devotees

An age old discipline that is still followed at Sabarimala is the ban on the entry of young women to the hill shrine. In fact, eves are not allowed even in to the poonkavanam or forest around Sannidhanamm, making Sabarimala the only temple in India where women aged between 10 and 50 cannot visit.

The ban has always been a controversial issue and a heavy demand to revoke it was raised by many a feminist organisation. However, the Devaswom and other agencies connected with Sabarimala have been successful in resisting this demand.One of the main reasons cited to justify this traditional stand is the duration of period of penance. Tradition insists on 41-day severe penance before undertaking the pilgrimage.The fact that it is womanly impossible to stick on to a strict routine laid down against a conservative Hindu background, especially the stigma attached to menstruation, is cited as one reason for restricting women's entry.

Similarly, the six-km trek from Pamba to Sannidhanam through hazardous forest path is physically a demanding task. However, this argument will not hold good in today's world abundant with examples of Amazonian talents.

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