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Ahead of Sabarimala temple opening, 10 women of menstruating age sent back

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 16: Ten women have been sent back from the Sabarimala on Saturday afternoon, as devotees started a trek to the shrine that opens for the 41-day annual pilgrimage season. The women aged between 10 and 50 had come from Andhra Pradesh but were sent back forcefully as they reached Pamba near Sabrimala.

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Police personnel sought proof of age as some elderly women began the trek amid a heavy rush of devotees in the base camp of Pambha, which is 5 km away from the temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, reported Hindustan Times.

The Sabarimala Temple set to re-open today for the 41-day-pilgrimage season. The state government has deployed over 10,000 police personnel in the region to maintain law and order situation. The annual pilgrimage to Sabarimala commences on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam which falls on November 17 and ends on December 27.

'Will not provide protection to any woman visiting Sabarimala', says Kerala minister

Kandararu Mahesh Mohanararu would open the sanctum sanctorum and perform the pujas. A K Sudheer Namboodiri would take charge as the Sabarimala Melsanthi and M S Parameshwaran Namboodiri as Malikapuram Melsanthi. The pilgrims would be allowed to climb the 18 holy steps after the padi puja and have darshan.

The temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala, is situated on a hilltop about 4000 feet above sea level-- Sabarimala. The devotees have to trek through difficult paths in the forest as the vehicles can go only up to pamba.

Massive clashes had erupted after the Supreme Court allowed entry of women of all ages into 2018.

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