Protests over allowing women to wear churidar at Padmanabhaswamy temple

Thiruvananthapuram : A day after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here relaxed its dress code to allow entry to women wearing ‘churidar’, a few women entered through a side gate clad in churidar, but some devotees and officials refused to allow entry to such attire through the other gates.

Temple Executive Officer K.N. Satish said the Kerala High Court had asked him to take the decision to allow churidar based on a petition, and he stands by the decision he took before the court on Tuesday.

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“The district judge and temple administrative committee chairperson K. Haripal has written a letter to me but it has lots of ambiguity. I stand by my decision,” said Satish.

The temple has four entries. A few women entered through one of the gates in churidar, while some devotees of the temple along with officials did not allow entry to churidar clad women in the other gates.

The famed temple shot to international fame in 2011 after it was found to have a treasure estimated to be in excess of Rs one lakh crore, stacked in five vaults.

The customary dress code for women entering the temple is they should wear a sari, or cover any other dress with a dhoti or a sari. This was challenged by woman advocate Riya Raji.

Angered by the sudden change of tradition, angry devotees led by Ganesh staged a protest and sat on the road saying that the traditions cannot be changed by just one person.

“Haripal has assured that this change will not be taken forward and he will come out with an order. We then decided to call of our protest,” Ganesh told reporters.

Meanwhile, State Devasom Minister and CPI-M leader Kadakampally Surendran played down the issue saying that changes have taken place at several places in keeping with the times.

“I don’t know what’s the reason for the protest. Anyway the government will study the issue,” said Surendran.