Sabarimala open to all: Temples where women aren’t allowed to enter
Hundreds of police personnel were on high alert on Wednesday in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta as the hilltop shrine in Sabarimala was scheduled to open to women of all ages, the first time after the Supreme Court verdict which allowed them access to the temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa.
Thousands of people, many of them women, have protested against women being allowed to pray in the temple. The centuries-old ban reflected an old but still prevalent belief that menstruating women are impure and the fact that Ayyappa is celibate.
Two years ago, activists successfully campaigned to end a ban on women entering the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. Women were also allowed to enter the Hajji Ali Dargah in Mumbai after the Supreme Court scrapped a ban in 2016.
There are several places of worship in India, where women are still not allowed to enter or have restricted entry.
Patbausi Satra, Assam
Authorities do not allow women to enter the temple in Assam’s Barpeta district to what they say is an attempt to preserve its “purity”. They also cite menstruation as the reason behind barring entry to women.
The then Assam governor JB Patnaik, who was visiting the Patbausi, Sundaridiya, and Barpeta satras in 2010 spoke with the authorities of the Patbausi satra and took a group of 20 women inside. The satra was briefly opened to women before the ban was re-imposed.
Lord Kartikeya Temple, Rajasthan
The temple, which worships the brahmachari or celibate form of Lord Kartikeya in Pushkar, does not allow women over a myth that the deity curses females who enter the temple.
Lord Annappa Temple, Karnataka
Lord Annappa Swamy temple at Dharmasthala near Mangalore also prohibits women from entering the temple.
“Entry of children and women is restricted to this hill owing to the legend and lore of the temple,” the website of the organisation that manages the temple says.
Rishi Dhroom Ashram and Temple, Uttar Pradesh
Women are allowed to pray only from the outside the temple dedicated to Rishi Dhroom in Muskura Khurd of Hamirpur district. His devotees believe he gets angry with the presence of women and his anger causes drought-like conditions in the area.
The temple and ashram were “purified” with the waters of the Ganges after a woman leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party entered the campus to pray in July this year.
Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan
This temple carved out of white marble in Pali district of the state restricts the visit of menstruating women. It also does not let women wearing western clothes and accessories inside the premises. Women are also required to cover their legs.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala
Women cannot enter the vaults of the centuries-old Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Women devotees can worship the deity but they are not allowed to go inside the temple chambers.
A female official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), who attempted to enter the restricted area of the world’s richest Hindu temple to create an inventory of the treasures inside in 2012, was stopped from getting in.
Nizamuddin Dargah, Delhi
Women are allowed into the premises of Nizamuddin Dargah but they cannot go inside the chamber where the 14th-century Sufi saint lived, died and was buried.
Bhavani Deeksha Mandapam, Andhra Pradesh
Women are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum in the temple dedicated to goddess Durga in Vijayawada city.
The government appointed the daughter of the head priest as a priest after his death but she wasn’t allowed into the inner sanctum.
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Women are not allowed in the premises of the mosque after sunset for the evening or Maghrib prayers.
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