Actress confesses to entering Sabarimala sanctum sanctorum

via published on June 28, 2006

KOCHI: In what would remain as a permanent blot on the sanctity of the Sabarimala temple, Kannada actress-producer Jaimala on Tuesday confessed that she had entered the sanctum sanctorum of the hill shrine and touched the feet of the Ayyappa idol in 1987.

This website’s newspaper had reported the other day about this sordid incident after astrologer Parappanangadi Unnikrishna Panicker conclusively confirmed it in the course of his Ashtamangalya Prasnam held at the Ayyappa abode the week before last.

The Travancore Devaswom Board, however, kept mum about the shameful incident that happened with the alleged connivance of the thantri who presided over the monthly pooja.

The event took a new turn on Tuesday when Jaimala, reacting to this website’s newspaper reports about the Ashtamangalya Prasnam, admitted that she had entered the sanctum sanctorum.

“There was heavy crowd of devotees. In the crowd, I was pushed towards the sanctum sanctorum where I touched the feet of the deity with utmost devotion,” she parroted the same lines she had faxed to the astrologer on June 17 confessing her act.

According to the Prasnam, the thantri had facilitated her entry into the sanctum sanctorum. “In fact, he led her into the sanctum sanctorum, the most sacred space where non-Brahmins are not allowed.

“And even more horrifying is the fact that she was allowed to touch the idol which is a strict no-no for all except the thantri and the chief priest,” sources pointed out.

Though Jaimala preferred to keep this as a personal experience of her unlawful visit (because she was only 27 at that time and entry of women aged between 10 and 50 to Sabarimala is banned), she was forced to speak the truth after reading about the “Lord’s anger” in this website’s newspaper.

Speaking to this website’s newspaper over phone from Bangalore, Jaimala said: “I never knew it was a wrong thing. In my native village in Karnataka, we touch the idol while praying.

“And when the crowd pushed me into the sanctum sanctorum, I repeated what was taught in the childhood. But having realised that it’s a sin, I faxed an apology (a copy of which is with the this website’s newspaper) to the God.”

“None stopped me at Pampa. I even bathed in the river. If someone had stopped me then, this wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

But this innocence doesn’t go well with the strict ethics governing Sabarimala. The TDB will now be forced to initiate a series of rituals to cleanse the abode of all such impurities. Sources in the know of things swear by Lord Ayyappa that Jaimala incident is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

What the Prasnam said

A beautiful woman artiste had entered the sanctum sanctorum

She was made to touch the idol

The incident happened within the last 18 years

There’s connivance of the thantri

What Jaimala admits

I entered the sanctum sanctorum

I did touch the idol

It happened 19 years ago and I was only 27

I was pushed inside by a huge crowd

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