Sabarimala (Kerala), Oct 19 (IANS) At least 100 policemen were accompanying two women, a journalist and a devotee, towards the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on Friday amidst protests.
Kavita, the Hyderabad-based journalist and her four member crew along with the other woman devotee from Kochi were surrounded by 80 policemen while the rest 20 were walking ahead of them, clearing the way.
The trek from Pamba to the temple located at a hillock generally takes around two hours. Led by Inspector General of Police S.Sreejith, they started their climb around 6.45 a.m.
According to the police, the two ladies have another 1.5 km to reach the hallowed sanctum santorum of the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Along the route, a protesting devotee jumped in front of the police cordon but he was removed.
An angry group of devotees are however, grouped at the entrance of the pathway that leads to the temple.
Meanwhile, the temple Tantri family and members of the Pandalam royal family are considering closing down of the temple in order to stop the women from entering, according to informed sources.
The temple opened its doors on Wednesday for the first time since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women from the 10-50 age group to enter the famed shrine.
On Thursday, there was a dawn-to-dusk shutdown across Kerala called by outfits owing loyalty to Hindu groups and the BJP.