Nearly 150 women, led by activist Trupti Desai, marched to the Trimbakeshwar Temple in Nashik on Monday to protest against a rule forbidding the entry of female devotees into its inner sanctum.
Desai said she was confident they won’t be detained because “the police and chief minister were supportive” of their movement. “We hope to create history today by entering the sanctum,” she added.
The Bhumata Brigade, a women’s rights group that had earlier led the protests at Shani Shinghnapur temple, organised the march led by Desai.
Supporting the initiative, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women batted for equality among both the sexes in religious matters.
“In our culture, equal status has been given to both men and women… this is the same for worshipping gods also. The women can worship god as men do. We feel that society must work in accordance with this and provide equal opportunity to all,” commission chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar told ANI, demanding that women be allowed inside the temple.
The temple trust maintained that the ban was based on an age-old tradition, and claimed that no objection has ever been raised in this regard. “What Desai and the other women are doing amounts to a mere publicity stunt. At a time when intelligence agencies have issued a security alert to various religious places, this will only add to the burden of police personnel guarding the temple,” said a woman trustee of the religious establishment.
The ancient Trimbakeshwar temple, located 30 km from Nashik city, is a major Lord Shiva shrine containing one of the 12 ‘jyotirlingas’ – devotional objects representing the deity.