For the last six months or so, we have been reading about news, views and articles on temples in India where women were not allowed entry. India being a religious country, the issue of women entering restricted premise at holy places such as Shani Shingnapur or Sabarmila or Ayyappa temple became a burning topic across the nation.
Recently, the Bombay High Court had ruled in favour of womens’ entry in temples, stating that they cannot be barred from Shani Shingnapur as it was their fundamental right.
But, why talk about women alone. There are places of worship / temples in India where men are barred from entering the premise at all or on select days and occasions. Yes, temples where only women are allowed. Whether, the men will protest or seek Court intervention for entering such premises remains a different matter, we would like to highlight six such temples in our country where men are not allowed.
1. Attukal Temple – The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple located in Kerala is one such temple where women are the dominant force. The temple’s Pongala festival – a festival where millions of women participate – has also made it to the Guinness Book of World Records. This festival is regarded as the largest gathering of women for any religious activity. Pongala is a 10 day festival which falls during February & March and women offer bangles to the goddess (Devi).
2. Chakkulathukavu Temple is an another temple in Kerala dedicated to the Goddess Bhagavathi. its follow a peculiar annual rituals called ‘Naari Puja’. On the first Friday of December called Dhanu, the male priest wash the feet of female devotees who have fasted for 10 days.
3. Santoshi Maa ‘Vrat’ is observed by only women or unmarried girls. It is prohibited to eat sour fruits or pickles during the ‘Vrat’. Though, male enters the Santoshi Maa temple for worshiping but hardly anyone follows the ritual of ‘Vrat’ for Santoshi Maa.
4. The temple of Lord Brahma at Pushkar in Rajasthan is one of the most prominent temple of Lord Brahma. The married men are not allowed to enter in temple. Once in a year, during Kartik Poornima of the Hindu lunar month of Kartik religious festival is held in Brahma honour. The temple dates back to 14th century.
5. The Bhagati Maa temple in Kanya Kumari, Kerala. It is said that Maa Parvati went to a lonely site in the mid of ocean for Tapasya. She tried very hard Tapasya for getting Lord Shiva as her husband. So in this temple only women is allowed, men are prohibited there. This is a famous temple of Kanya Kumari, where Kanya Maa Bhagawati Durga is worshiped by women only.
6. In a Muzaffarpur Bihar, there is a one Mata temple were during the time of special period – only women devotees are allowed to enter the temple. Even the Pujari of the temple is not allowed to enter the premises.