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'Lord Ayyappa Wasn't Anti-Women': Despite Threats, Kollam Woman Begins 'Divine' Journey to Sabarimala

The trouble began on Tuesday evening when Karunagappally native Archana K Rajan, who goes by the name of Soorya Devarchana on Facebook, revealed her wish to visit Lord Ayyappa's temple in Sabarimala.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | News18

Updated:October 17, 2018, 12:00 AM IST
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'Lord Ayyappa Wasn't Anti-Women': Despite Threats, Kollam Woman Begins 'Divine' Journey to Sabarimala
Kollam native Archana K Rajan expresses desire to visit Sabarimala temple
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Kozhikode: Shoving her clothes into a bag and hurriedly reaching out to grab other essentials, a woman from Kollam is all set to begin a new and divine journey. But this quest was not an easy one. She has been getting threat calls and messages for her 'sinful' decision.

The trouble began on Tuesday evening when Karunagappally native Archana K Rajan, who goes by the name of Soorya Devarchana on Facebook, revealed her wish on the social networking site, to visit Lord Ayyappa's temple in Sabarimala. She said that she has already begun observing the 41-day penance period as a part of the ritual.

Pilgrims have to undertake the penance before coming to Sabarimala for Lord Ayyappa's darshan. The devotees are supposed to refrain from any kind of grooming and wear black while remaining celibate throughout the period of the penance. They surrender themselves completely to the Lord to unite with the divine grace.

However, the ritual has only been followed by men till now as menstruating women, in the 10-50 age group, were barred from entering the hillock shrine. It was only after the Supreme Court's recent verdict that the temple doors have been opened for women for all age groups. But the judgment has drawn sharp reaction from a group of believers, leading to a massive standoff between women groups and some Hindu outfits ahead of the temple's opening on Wednesday.

Narrating the difficulties she had to go through after her decision, Rajan said, "I lost my job after putting up the post wishing to be at Sabarimala. I am still receiving threats on phone. I am shifting right away and undeterred about my mission. On completing 41 days of penance, I'd be at Sabarimala shrine."

The Kollam resident's Facebook post begins by explaining how people are up in arms against the women 'who intend to alight the holy steps of Sabarimala'. Believing in the principle of oneness, Tatwamasi (you are that), she recollects how she accompanied her father to Sabarimala during childhood.

"I strongly believe the legend of Tatwamasi. Don't think, Lord Ayyappa is anti-female. Malikapuram situates in his close proximity. How could someone who sought tiger's milk to cure his mother be labelled-anti-woman? Wholeheartedly taking the Supreme Court verdict, I went to Sreekanteswaram temple (in Kozhikode) to wear the beaded chain and decided to be at Sabarimala. I have hopes in the government. I expect we’d get all support to offer prayers at the deity," her post reads.
| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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