After the Sabarimala fiasco, history changed once more in Kerela when an Information and Broadcasting (I&B) women employee begun her climb to the Agasthyakoodam peak on January 14, after the Kerela High Court removed the ban on this annual event.
Dhanya Sanal is a deputy director at the I&B ministry and is the only women among the first 100 group of trekkers participating in the Agasthyakoodam climb. The trekking event is a 22-km journey to the 1868 metre peak within the Neyyar Wildlife sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram district.
The first batch of trekkers started their journey from the Bonakkad base station at 9:15AM on January 14 and camped before the night at Athirumala. The journey to the peak will continue further today.
The annual trek event is a 47 day affair where 100 participants will traverse the 22-km journey. Before embarking on the journey, Dhanya Sanal said, “The journey is to understand the forest more and share the unique experience with others.”
After the Supreme Court’s historic decision of uplifting the ban over entry of women in their menstruation age in Lord Ayyappa temple made Kerela go berserk with protesters, some similar resistance too was faced before women being granted to climb the peak.
The Kani tribe who live on the foothills of this peak have their faith on this mountain range being the home of their deity Agasthya Muni (sage). The Kani tribal leader also voiced, women in their tribe have never been allowed to scale the peak because of their deity Agasthya being a sage.
The first batch of trekkers on January 14 received protests by around 200 members of the Kani tribe. Agasthyakoodam Kshetra Kanikkar Trust president said, “We protested against the entry of women by reciting prayers. We are planning to move an appeal in High Court against the single bench verdict that allowed women to undertake the trek.”
While, Wildlife warden Shaji Kumar stated, basic facilities have been arranged for the trekkers. Each day will witness a group of 100 trekkers for the 47-day annual event and 100 women have participated in this event after the High Court lifted the ban.