There are several temples in India that forbid entry to women. We’re not in- human, we’re just different. And that’s the only difference. We love, care and nurture. But, we bleed. And, that’s the only difference. We’re capable, resourceful and self-sufficient. But, we’re not given the chance. And, that’s the only difference. The only difference between me and you.
Temples in India where the line of distinction still exists
We’re misunderstood, time and again. But, we shun it all out. We constitute half the world, and you’re here breathing and living and existing because of us.
One might come across differences and discrimination in the common world on the basis of gender. But, it’s highly unlikely that God would treat his children any differently. Now, that is because he created us, and no one could ever hate what one created.
But, what if I tell you that you might be incorrect here. Join us, as we countdown to five famous spiritual places in India that have/had closed their doors for the female society.
Shani Shingnapur, Maharashtra
One of the most visited temples in India initially didn’t allow entry for females. However, due to severe backlash and criticism from the female devotees. Following the Bombay High Court’s directions, the Shani Shingnapur trust lifted the four-hundred-year-old ban on the auspicious day of ‘Gudi Padwa’ or the Maharashtrian New year’s day.
The reason why women were not allowed in the shrine could be because of the association of Shani Dev with celibacy or Brahmacharya.
Haji Ali Dargah, Maharashtra
Haji Ali Dargah is a 585-year old shrine of Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. It’s an islet off the Mumbai coast. Initially, women were allowed inside the Dargah, but as late as in 2011 the committee of the shrine decided to shut their doors for the females.
The Trust has claimed that the intermingling of men and women in an enclosed place around the tomb causes discomfort to both the sexes and the decision to stop women from entering is to avoid this inconvenience. However, there is no explicit direction in either the Quran or the Hadees restraining women from visiting graves.
After the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan filed a PIL, the Bombay High Court directed the trust to lift the ban in 2016.
Ranakpur Jain temple, Rajasthan
Ranakpur Jain temple is a renowned Jain temple, dedicated to Tirthankar Rishabhanatha. Though this temple does not have a ban on women, it has clear instructions stating how and when a woman should enter the temple. Menstruating women are can’t enter this temple, like almost every temple. A woman, while entering the temple, should cover her legs till below the knees.
Kartikeya Temple, Pushkar
Kartikeya Temple in Pushkar is a religious site that has prohibited the entry of women in its premises. This temple worships the Brahmachari (celibate) form of Lord Kartikeya. And due to the popular belief that Lord Kartikeya may curse any woman who enters the temple, women are restricted to enter the temple.
Sabarimala, the abode of Lord Ayyappa, is located in the Periyar Tiger Reserve of Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. Women of age 12-50years can’t enter the temple.
Reasons which forbid the entry of women in Temples
Since Lord Ayyappa is celibate.
Bhaktas observing Sabarimala lose their interest.
Women are ‘impure’ during the menstrual cycle.
Because of his romance with Malikapurathammawho waits for him till date.
So, these are the five temples in India that have restricted entry to females for innumerable reasons.
But, as Guru Nanak Dev Ji said one needn’t visit a temple or a forest or worship an idol to find god for he resides within the believer, we might be able to tolerate this injustice.