Delhi, India (CNN)A woman in southern India has become the first to climb a sacred mountain after a court lifted a local custom that prohibited females from scaling the peak.
Indian woman becomes first to climb male-only mountain
The feat comes amid a fractious national debate about gender restrictions, religion and the limits of the law in India that has flared into deadly street violence.
Dhanya Sanal reached the summit of the 1,868 meter-high (6,128 feet) Agasthyakoodam in southern Kerala state on Tuesday, following the High Court ruling in November.
Local people belonging to the Kani, a tribal Hindu community who inhabit the forests around the mountain, had opposed women climbing the peak for traditional customary reasons, though an official law was never in place.
The 38-year-old, who is a spokesperson for the country's Defense Ministry, was the only woman trekker among a group of 100 to climb the peak on Tuesday, local media reported. Two women forest rangers also accompanied the group.
More than 100 more women have registered for trekking licenses since the court's decision, with some already on the way to the peak.
Sanal told the Times of India that the two day hike was on "extremely tough terrain that demands extra physical fitness."
The UNESCO listed Agasthyakoodam, located in the Western Ghats range, is the second highest peak in Kerala state and is renowned for its wealth of biodiversity that includes 400 plants unique to the area.
Speaking to CNN, Dr. V. Venu, Principal Secretary of the Kerala Forests and Wildlife Department s