Kerala’s renowned hill shrine, Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, visited by lakhs of devotees from all over India and abroad, will now be known as Sabarimala Sree Ayyappaswamy Temple, the temple administration has said.
The temple has been in national news recently for its rule barring women of a certain age group to enter the temple precincts.
In a major decision, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which governs the holy shrine, has issued an order changing the name of the temple to Sabarimala Sree Ayyappaswamy Temple.
In official records, the temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa and situated in a dense forest in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala, is known as Sabarimala Sree Dharma Sastha Temple.
Lakhs of devotees, especially from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, visit the temple every year.
The board authorities said the decision to change the name of the temple was taken at the meeting of the board on October 5.
“There are many Dharmasastha temples under the Devaswom Board, but Sabarimala is the one and only holy seat in the world where Sree Ayyappaswamy presides. That is the reason why crores of devotees visit Sabarimala every year to have darshan of Lord Ayyappaswamy,” the board officials said.
The journey to the temple, which is open to all men, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, is through difficult paths in the forest as vehicles can go only up to Pampa.
The Travancore Devaswom Board, an autonomous body, is entrusted with the task of administrating 1,248 temples, including Sabarimala, in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore.