The famous hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala would continue to be known by the name "Sabrimala Sree Dharma Sashtha Temple" as its management decided to reject its rechristening as proposed by the previous body constituted by the UDF regime.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the temple that attracts lakhs of devotees, met here and resolved to quash the decision of the previous board taken in 2016 to rename the shrine as Sree Ayyappa Swami Temple, TDB President A Padmakumar told reporters here. The previous boards decision to rename the shrine was then seen as a move to ensure a favourable verdict for the TDB in a case pending in Supreme Court seeking entry of all women into the temple, where women in the age group of 10-50 are banned.
It was then felt that a unique name for Sabarimala shrine would help the TDBs cause as there were many temples in the name of Dharma Sastha in the state where women are allowed, which could be cited by the litigants in support of their demand. When asked about the present TDBs stand on women entry, Padmakumar said as per the existing rule women in the age group of 10-50 were not allowed and "we stand by it".
On the case in the apex court, he said let the legal matter take its course and "there is no justification to change the name of the temple". The present TDB was reconstituted by the CPI-M led LDF government, which had opposed the decision of the previous board headed by Prayar Gopalakrishnan.
Padmakumar said the decision to rename the temple was taken by the previous board without proper discussions and there was no rational behind it. On other decisions taken today at the TDB meeting, he said the work on the proposed rope-way to carry cargo to the hill shrine would be started soon.
The four km rope-way would connect the Pamba, at the foothills, and Manimandapam at the hill temple complex.
Lakhs of Ayyappa devotees across the country and abroad visit the shrine during the three-month Mandala-Makaravillaku festival season from November to January. The first phase of Mandala festival of the current season ended on December 26 last and Makaravillku is on January 14.