The Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple here on Tuesday issued an order allowing women devotees to enter wearing churidars or salwars. Women devotees had to wear a dhoti over a churidar or any other garment as per the prevailing dress code. The temple executive officer took the decision on a directive issued by the Kerala High Court on September 29.
A woman devotee, advocate Riya Raji, had petitioned the High Court seeking appropriate direction to the temple authorities to bring in necessary changes in the dress code. She had argued that the temple administrative panel had introduced several reforms, but the custom according to which a woman had to wear a dhoti over any other clothing item while entering the temple was improper.
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Disposing the petition, High Court Judge Shaji P Chali asked the temple executive officer to take a decision within a month after hearing the petitioner and other interested persons.
The decision comes amid objections by the administrative committee appointed by the Supreme Court, which last week informed the executive officer that the present dress code should be continued. The court said the administrative committee was of the view that the tradition could not be changed without wider consultations and this superfluous issue was raked up to sideline other burning issues.
Executive officer K N Satheesh said devotees have been demanding a change in the dress code, saying there is no justification for wearing a dhoti over churidars or salwars. The demand for changing the dress code had come from all sections of society and from various parts of the country, he said. “We have received representations from bureaucrats, scientists, doctors and women seeking permission to enter the temple wearing a decent dress,” he said.
The temple had made headlines a few years ago when a huge treasure cache, mainly gold, was unearthed from its vaults after a direction from Supreme Court.