Temple to move court on ban on throwing clothes in river

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 21 (IANS) The Sabarimala temple authorities said on Saturday they plan to move the Kerala High Court against its ban on pilgrims throwing their clothes into the Pamba river.

Temple officials admitted they too were against polluting the river but said a long-standing tradition involving people’s faith must not be curbed solely by law.

Arresting pilgrims throwing clothes into the river or filing cases against them was not a way out of the problem, Ajay Tharayil, a member of Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the temple, said here.

“It will be some time before we can bring about a change by running an awareness campaign. So we are considering approaching the high court with a revision petition on the issue,” said Tharayil.

The high court last month ordered strict action against pilgrims throwing clothes into water bodies near the hill temple.

Following that, police arrested 10 pilgrims who, having taken the holy dip before beginning their pilgrimage to the temple, threw their clothes into the river.

The Sabarimala temple opened its doors on Monday evening, signalling the start of a nearly two-month pilgrim season which will last up to the first day of the Malayalam month in January.

Situated on the mountain ranges of the Western Ghats at 914 metres above sea level, the temple is four kilometres uphill from Pamba and some 100 km from Thiruvananthapuram.

The temple can be reached only on foot from Pamba. The TDB manages hundreds of temples in Kerala.

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