One of the most famous temples in Kerala, the Sabarimala temple, restricted the entry of women of menstruating age for years, as the temple was considered the abode of a Hindu Brahmachari (celibate) deity Ayyappan, also known as Dharma Shasta.
On 28 September, 2018, the temple opened to all pilgrims after a historic verdict from the Supreme Court of India, which called the ban unconstitutional.
Hundreds of women tried to enter the temple after the verdict but were blocked, attacked and humiliated by right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers.
On 2 January, 2019, two women, Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga, made history by entering the Sabarimala temple – becoming the first to successfully do so after the lifting of the ban.
Bindu Ammini, 45, a Dalit social activist and a faculty member of the Government Law College, Calicut, Kerala, speaks to Himal Southasian about her experience, the physical and online assault she faced from right-wing workers and the inaction of the state government and police in response to her complaints.
Reporter/Camera: Bibin Joseph
Edit: Bibin Joseph, Sana Amir
Transcript: Anupam Sheena Das
Additional videos: Bindu Ammini