THRISSUR: In a landmark decision, the Guruvayur Devaswom on Tuesday decided to permit non-Hindus to have the prasada oottu (temple feast) at the Annalakshmi Hall Oottupura located outside the temple compound. The notice board prohibiting the entry of non-Hindus to the oottupura will also be removed.
Devaswom chairman K B Mohandas said the managing committee meeting held at Guruvayur had also decided to permit the devotees to enter the Oottupura wearing footwear, shirts and pants. However mobile phones will not be permitted there.
The meeting also decided to increase 500 seats for serving the feast by constructing an additional shed, considering the possibility of the increased flow of devotees in the holy Vaishakham month and vacation period.
The Oottupura was earlier located inside the temple, but it was shifted to the area outside the west side entrance to the temple couple of year ago. However, the devaswom decided to retain the practices like denying permission to non-Hindus, even in the new location. The oottupura was considered as part of the temple and other conditions like not permitting devotees wearing pants, footwear and shirts inside the hall continued.
Meanwhile, devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran had welcomed the decision. “Some of the superstitions are still lingering on even now,” the minister said while speaking at the inauguration of the ‘prasadam’ programme of the Cochin Devaswom Board (CDB) to provide food to the devotees coming to Vadakkunnathan Temple. Talking about prasadam programme the minister said the scheme was a model to other devaswoms as it aims at providing food to those coming to the temple, irrespective of their religious backgrounds.
The Cochin Devaswom Board president M K Sudarshan said the plan was to serve food to at least 500 people every day. “The fund for the programme is expected to be mobilized through sponsorships. About Rs 10,000 would be required for providing kanji and some curry to the devotees every day. The devaswom has earmarked some amount for this in its budget, but the programme will be conducted largely with sponsorship,” Sudarshan said.