Untouchability back in Kerala temple

In a shocking move, the managing trustee of a temple in Thrithala, Palakkad, has put up a board restricting entry to upper caste Hindus. Only Namboothiris and Embranthiris can enter Padinjatti (temple premises) while other upper castes can pray from outside the temple. Backward caste Hindus are also barred entry.

The legend is that Agnihotri, the first child of Parayi (a dalit woman), installed the idol 1,600 years back. According to the myth, 12 siblings of Agnihothri used to meet at this mana. The idols in the temple are Durga, Bhadrakali and Krishna Kali. “The temple belongs to Vemanchery Mana and the trust put a board recently. We have no idea why it has put it up,” said Mr Vinit R., a resident.
It is unfortunate that temples still follow untouchability and bars people from entering the temple, he added. “The temple by erecting such a board is sabotaging the concept of secularism,” he added. Thrithala MLA Mr V.T. Balram told this newspaper that he will intervene in the issue. “I will call the trust members and ask them to take necessary steps,” he said. “I simply cannot accept the board put up by the temple, I have strong objection against the trustee,” said Mr V. T. Vasudevan, son of social reformist V.T. Bhattathiripad. The board reads: “Some 1,600 years back, Mezhathol Agnihotri installed Bhagavathi idol here. One cannot enter the temple wearing shirt, pants, lungi and night wear. Namboothiris and Embranthiris can enter the temple after taking bath or wearing new dress. Savarna Hindus (upperclass Hindus, including Nairs, Menons, Ezhuthachan and others) should not enter the Padinjatti but can pray from outside.’’

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