Various Hindu organisations on Wednesday protested against the Kerala’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple’s authorities eased the dress code for women from dhoti or sari to salwar kameez. While some members of Kerala Brahamanna Sabha demonstrated on the road leading to the western entrance of the temple, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sobha Surendran said the temple authorities should have discussed the matter before taking such a decision. She, however, clarified to PTI that she was not personally against women wearing a salwar kameez to the temple.
A member of the Kerala Brahamanna Sabha said that the decision taken by executive officer KN Sateesh was against the temple’s centuries-old tradition. Later, the sabha representatives met the administrative committee chairperson. Hindu Aikya Vedi chief Shashikala Teacher agreed with Kerala Brahamanna Sabha.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the government will look into all the aspects and take “an appropriate decision” on the matter soon. Executive officer Sateesh said that he had the high court’s backing on this matter. “I stand by my decision,” Sateesh told IANS. Meanwhile, a few women clad in salwar kameez could enter the temple through a side gate and offered prayers, according to the news agency.
The temple administration’s decision came after an advocate moved the Kerala High Court against the discriminatory rule. Petitioner Riya Raje had pointed out to the court that customs and traditions demanded “decent clothing” in places of worship, not a particular kind of dress.
The temple has more than Rs 1 lakh crore in treasure in underground vaults. The wealth was inventoried following a court order in 2010. The Travancore royal family used to be the custodian of the temple till 2010, when the Kerala High Court constituted a new governing body to run it. Among other things, rare jewels, gold coins, diamond-studded thrones, crowns and gold bars were found in the six vaults around six years ago.