Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 14: Tribal people in Bonacud protested against trekking of women to Agasthyarkudam peak, the final resting place of sage Agasthya, who is an eternal celibate.
Women trekkers were earlier not allowed on the mountain during the 41-day trekking season between January 15 to March 2.
Members of the Kani tribe believe the hill, the second tallest in Kerala, and the shrine at its peak to be the resting place of the sage Agasthya, who appears briefly in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The sage Agasthya is also, like Ayyappa, meant to be an eternal celibate, leading to the ban on women trekking to the temple.
Earlier, the Kerala High Court had ruled on November 30 that there could be no gender-based restriction on climbing or trekking Agasthyarkoodam. The ruling further pointed out that no one had any vested right over the hill, as it was a reserve forest and a UNESCO heritage site. It further opined that the Kani tribe did not have any customary right of worship over the area as there was no physical shrine there, only an idol.