Thiruvananthapuram : Kerala Devasom Minister G. Sudhakaran told the state assembly Wednesday that the government would like to allow women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple.
"In several speeches and writings, eminent teacher and culture expert Ambalapuzha Rama Varma has said that in the past, women used to go to the Sabarimala temple and so far no one has disputed this claim," said Sudhakaran.
The minister said in the 1940s the then queen of Travancore had visited the Sabarimala temple.
"In that period, women with babies in their arms used to arrive at the temple and since climbing of the 18 steps in front of the sanctum sanctorum was an arduous task, they used to take a different route to have darshan of lord Ayyappa," said Sudhakaran.
He also told the assembly that in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, the government has it would be best if an expert committee of religious scholars, leaders and social people be formed to look into the controversial issue of women's entry to the temple.
"I have been getting numerous letters from people from all walks of life that the government should take a stand to open the temple to all women. A person has even suggested that it would be best if all women are allowed entry during a season exclusively for women," added the minister.
He said the basic question was of faith and not practices and customs.
"Over the years, if one looks into the practices and customs being followed in Sabarimala, I myself have found out that changes to customs in at least a dozen aspects have taken place. So the basic premise is faith alone," the minister reiterated.
Currently, the Sabarimala temple is open to girls who have not attained puberty and women who have reached menopause. Debates over the entry of women of all groups to the temple has been raging here since last year after controversial claims that Kannada actress Jaimala had prayed at the temple years ago.