THRISSUR: For the first time in the history of Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, women wearing purdah attended the temple feast offered to devotees at the Annalakshmi Hall located outside the temple on Wednesday and Thursday. The Guruvayur Devaswom hade decided on Tuesday to allow non-Hindus to attend the prasada oottu (temple feast) exercising the powers vested on the board. The meeting also decided to allow people enter the Annalakshmi Hall wearing shirts, pants and footwear.
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Guruvayur Devaswom administrator C C Sasidharan told Express, "We serve feast to around 5,000 devotees every day at noon. On auspicious days, the number of people attending the prasada ottu swells to 7,000. The committee decided to allow non-Hindus participate in the prasada ottu as the Annalakshmi Hall is located outside the temple premises. The decision has been well accepted and I don't think the thantri (high priest) will object to it. There was no phenomenal increase in the people attending the prasada ottu after the decision was implemented. There were a few women wearing pardah among them. We can't differentiate the people who attend prasada ottu by religion."
The devaswom provides upma as breakfast and meals as supper for around 500 devotees every day. Thousands attend the feast at noon. Though the ottu pura (dining hall) was located inside the temple premises earlier, it was shifted outside the premises a couple of years ago.
Asked about allowing K J Yesudas, who has sung hundreds of devotional songs praising Sri Krishna, the presiding deity of the temple, to enter the temple, Sasidharan said the Devaswom committee did not discuss the issue.
Welcoming the decision, Muslim League state general secretary C H Rasheed, who is a native of Chavakkad near Guruvayur, said it will help improve the cordial relationship of Hindus and Muslims in the area.
"There's an atmosphere of harmony prevailing among the residents of Guruvayur which is above differences in belief. We're happy to see members of the Muslim community attending the temple feast. I'm planning to attend the feast with my party colleagues soon," he said.