Sabarimala chief priest Kandararu Rajeevaru said he will shut the shrine and hand over the keys to management if women in the menstruating age climbed up the 18 steps to the temple. He said he had come to this decision in consultation with the Pandalam royal family.
“I don’t have more to say. I am with the devotees, I can’t do puja cheating them,” he said, adding that all rituals have been conducted till Friday morning.
We have decided to lock the temple and handover the keys & leave. I stand with the devotees. I do not have any other option: Kandararu Rajeevaru, #SabarimalaTemple head priest #Kerala (file pic) pic.twitter.com/6LilPOx9qr
— ANI (@ANI) October 19, 2018
Two women attempted to make their way to the shrine on Friday with police escort. However, they turned back once it became apparent that the protesters would turn to violence if they went further. The house of Rehana Fathima, one of the two women, was attacked earlier in the morning. The priest too had warned IG Sreejith that the women should not be allowed in the main temple.
Sabarimala priests, called tantris, come from Thazhamon Madom of Mundencavu in central Kerala’s Chengannur. As per tradition the Padi Pooja, Udayasthamana Pooja and Kalasa Pooja need the presence of the Tantri. Also, the tantri or his representative are required to be present on premises whenever the Sabarimala temple is open.