The Kerala police on Saturday did not allow ten women from Andhra Pradesh to go to the Sabarimala temple to pray despite a 2018 Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine.
The women were stopped by the police at Pamba, from where devotees have to trek to the shrine.
Three of the women, who were part of a larger group, were not allowed to go further from Pamba after the police checked their identity cards, IANS reported.
The temple tradition disallows women in the age group of 10 to 50 years to enter the temple precinct.
Sources said the three women were briefed about the temple tradition, and that they agreed to stay back. The rest of the pilgrims were allowed to proceed further, IANS reported.
The famed Sabarimala temple that resembled a fortress a year ago wore a peaceful look on Saturday.
No prohibitory orders, which were clamped last year, have been in place in and around the temple town this time.
Though the Supreme Court on Thursday gave a 3:2 verdict referring the Sabarimala review pleas to a larger bench, it maintained that it has not stayed the September 28, 2018 order allowing women to enter the temple.
This time, the Kerala government has made its position clear that it would not make any effort to take women to the temple to pray.
Last year, the police provided security to women who faced stiff resistance from activists of some right-wing forces and chased them away.
The temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is the most famous and prominent among all the Sastha temples in Kerala, is situated on a hilltop about 4000 feet above sea level--Sabarimala. The devotees have to trek through difficult paths in the forest as the vehicles can go only up to Pamba.
The two-month-long Sabarimala temple festival officially opens for pilgrims on Sunday at 5 am. However, it opens today at 5 pm for religious rituals to be performed by temple priest and 'tantris.'
(With inputs from agencies)