In a recent ruling, the Kerala High Court put a hold on the order relaxing dress norms at the state’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.
The ruling comes just days after the temple’s CEO K N Sateesh allowed women to enter the temple wearing salwar suits. The move, which was taken in response to a petition lodged at the high court by a woman advocate Riya Raje, hadn’t gone down well with the Temple’s senior priest, Nedumpilli Tharanalloor Parameshwaran Namboodiripad.
The priest had expressed his staunch opposition to the decision, calling it a violation of the temple’s age-old traditions. While his stand definitely had an effect on the high court’s earlier decision, a writ petition filed by private parties challenging the Executive officer’s decision also played a major role in the return of the old norms.
A division of bench of the court has ordered for the old norms to continue for the time being. It comes as a huge blow to women, as like before they will be expected to wear only saris or cover their salwar and churidar with a dhoti while entering the temple.
The decision to allow women wearing salwar kameez to enter the temple was officially made by the temple CEO Sateesh on 29 November 2016. The administrative committee of the temple had, however, frozen his order but the writ petition alleged that despite this, women wearing churidar were allowed into the temple.
In July 2007, another prominent place of worship in Kerala- the Guruvayoor Shri Krishna temple had amended its strict dress code for women devotees, allowing them to enter wearing salwar kameez and traditional long skirts. The rule still continues to stand.