On January 2, 2019, Kanakadurga created history by entering the Sabarimala temple, despite being a woman of menstruating age, while temple authorities had insisted that no menstruating women were allowed in the premises. But when she returned home, she was disowned by her family. They had had no idea about her plan.
The 44-year-old could not enter her own house. While making several attempts to get back in, she was attacked by her in-laws, physically, and was taken to the hospital. Afterwards, accompanied by a woman sub-inspector, Kanakadurga again tried to enter her own house. Her husband Krishnanunni denied her entry once again, adding that she had to apologise publicly for hurting the sentiments of Sabarimala temple devotees and the Hindu community in India.
Kanakadurga was taken to a women’s temporary shelter—Sakhi One Stop. After she was discharged from Kozhikode Medical College, she again tried going to her in-laws in Perinthalmanna. She was denied again.
Kanakadurga, along with Bindhu Ammini, had entered the Lord Ayyappa shrine of the Sabarimala temple in the early hours of January 2. This was after making several failed attempts due to protests from devotees.
There’s nothing wrong with the temple. Dedicated to lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala Hills of Kerala, the Hindu temple is one of the largest pilgrim centres in India. The rule of the temple, in the Hindu custom, forbids the entry of women devotees of menstruating age, out of respect to the temple deity’s vow of celibacy.
In 1991, a Kerala High Court judgement passed the order permitting the traditional interpretation of Sabarimala, banning the entry of the women of a certain age group. In September 2018, a Supreme Court judgement ruled that pilgrims of all age and genders were allowed to enter the temple. This led to an outbreak of protests against the Supreme Court’s verdict. Several women, thereafter, made many trips to enter the Ayyappa temple, but remained unsuccessful due to protests of devotees.
In January, 2019, finally, two women created history by entering the temple: Kanakadurga and Bindhu. However, Sabarimala temple was closed down after their entry, and reopened only after a “purification” process.