Kochi | As a controversy brewed over the decision of Travancore Devaswom Board to rename Kerala’s centuries-old hill shrine of Lord Ayappa at Sabarimala, a prominent Hindu community leader today said the temple should not be made subject of unnecessary controversies.
Vellappally Natesan, General Secretary of SNDP Yogam, a powerful organisation of Kerala’s numerically strong Hindu Ezhava community, said “Sabarimala should not be made subject of unnecessary controversies”.
“It is all the more regrettable that such controversies are generated during the Sabarimala pilgrim season,” said Natesan, reacting to the controversies brewing over renaming of Sabarimala Sreedharma Sastha Temple as Sabarimala Sree Ayyappaswamy temple.
“Sabarimala is the holy seat of Lord Ayyappaswamy. People (in the temple administration and government) will come and go, but the Lord will remain there showering blessings on his devotees. My appeal is that… kindly don’t make Sabarimala a centre of controversies and leave the affairs of the hill shrine to the devotees of Lord Ayyappa,” he said.
However, Akkeeraman Kalidasa Bhattathirippad, a prominent member of the Kerala Thanthri Samajam – a body of chief priests of Kerala temples – said there was nothing wrong in changing the name as the deity is worshipped in the form of Lord Ayyappa.
Kerala Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had yesterday said that the decision of the board to change the name was a “serious violation of rules” and the government’s approval was not sought.
The Minister had said he would seek an explanation from Travancore Devaswom Board, which maintains the famous shrine.
He claimed even the Sabarimala thantri (chief priest) was unaware of the decision and that none had asked him.
The Pandalam Royal family had also expressed similar sentiments, he added.
The controversy has hit the famed temple at a time when the pilgrim season has begun and lakhs of devotees would be offering worship during the three month-long period.