The pilgrimage was meant for seeking peace at mountains far from perils of day-to-day life and redemption from this materialistic world- kama, krodha,lobha,moha,mada and matsarya.
Even placing the deity a notch away for the Malikapurathamma site on the same location symbolizes the essential abstinence from ‘so-called cravings’.
The visit to the temple has to be made only after taking ‘vratham’ refers to a period where devotees sacrifice non-vegetarian foods ( avoiding tamas and rajas gunas or properties) and stays away from all kind of intimate (sexual )activities for periods ranging from 18 to 41 days.
Under the eyes of judiciary, men and women are equal, the verdict speak this for itself by upholding the right of equality as constitution amends.
The ruling has caused tension among devotees and here are some of the selected comments from them.
Rajendra, aged 56 - “I have been on regular pilgrimage to Sabarimala since childhood. The decision from court came as a nightmare to me and it did hurt my beliefs. The very purpose of taking ‘vratham’ for days by staying away from physical relationship is being questioned here and its relevance has been shattered by letting in women.”
Deepa, aged 33- “ I support the verdict, the decision to open gate for all women at Sabarimala was welcoming for me. Hinduism is enriched with feminine god figures and is egalitarian by nature also, exclusion for women at this particular temple has been debated for long and the ruling by SC did put a lid on it.’’
‘’ This historical change could mean a lot to women devotees and will reinforce feminists and related activists.” she added.
Vinod, aged 22-” Now the entire concept of visit to Sabarimala has changed, I doubt if I should call it ‘pilgrimage’ again . By allowing women it has became more like any other temple and its distinctiveness is lost”
Ramani, aged 40 - “ Women below the age of 8 and those above age of 60 are already allowed at Sabarimala. All these years things went well and we all have accepted it as part of our culture. I am also a devotee and even now i plan to visit only after turning 60 . As far as I think, majority of women would prioritize culture above law and stick to the long existing beliefs.”
The rush during every season is beyond control already and is keeping on increasing every year. When women steps in, the concern regarding their safety is hitting roof. More stringent measure and facilities like separate queues and restroom facilities have to be implemented and various other regulations has to be made in accommodating coming years of heterosexual crowd.