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Indian temples and their mysterious Rituals!

Oct 05, 2018

Indian temples and their mysterious Rituals!
Indian temples and their mysterious Rituals! | Credit: Aravindgundumane

As the Sabarimala verdict has captured the attention of the nation, there are debates with people arguing both for and against the verdict. Being a highly sentimental nation, it is difficult for people to accept a shift in traditions that have been withheld for a long time. That said, it is a welcome change to see that gender equality is gaining prominence at a legal level.

Just like how Sabarimala temple had prohibited women from entering the temple previously, there are some temples and rituals in India that prohibit the entry or participation of men. Let us take a look at few such temples here.

Attukal Temple

The Attukal Bhagawathi Amman Temple is one temple where women are given a lot of importance. The temple has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the Pongala festival that sees over three million women take part. This is the largest single gathering of women and men are not allowed to enter the temple.

Santhoshi Mata Vrat

This is a ritual that married and yet-to-be married women and girls take up. Those who take it up observe a fast on Fridays and pray to Santhoshi Mata for the well-being of their family and ask for blessings. They restrain from touching or eating sour food and stick to eating only jaggery and gram dal. This ritual is specifically for women. Men do not take up this ritual.

Lord Bramha Temple

This is a temple dedicated to Bramha who is one of the Holy Trinity of Hinduism. In fact, this is one of the very few temples for Bramha in the world. Located in Pushkar at Rajasthan, it is believed that Bramha himself performed a yagnya in the place and his wife Saraswathi came late to the ritual. This makes Bramha marry goddess Gayathri whch makes goddess Saraswathi furious. She curses the place and says that no married man can ever enter the place. Thus, men do not visit this temple.

Bhagawati Mata Temple

This temple has the main deity as Kanya Devi Bhagawathi Durga. Located in Kanyakumari at Tamil Nadu, this temple has an interesting story behind it.

The story goes that Mata had gone to a secluded spot in the ocean to perform a penance to please Lord Shiva and make him marry her. For this reason, she is also known as the deity of Sanyasa and hence married men are prohibited from entering this temple. Sanyasis are allowed to enter the temple whether they are men or women.

Trimbakeshwar Temple

This is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Nasik at Maharashtra. Women had been prohibited to enter the temple according to various versions of stories in this temple. However, in an interesting legal turn of events, the Mumbai High Court passed a judgement in 2016 that if women were prohibited from entering then men should also be barred from entering the temple as a sign of maintaining gender equality.

Kamrup Kamakhya Temple

This beautiful temple in Assam is very unique. While there is an unsaid rule in India that menstruating women are not allowed to enter temples or carry our religious rituals during their menses, this temple differs. Women are allowed to enter the temple only when they are menstruating and only female priests carry out all the rituals at the temple. The menstrual cloth used by Sati Devi, the deity, is considered holy and is distributed among devotees. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu had used his Sudarshana Chakra to cut Sati Devi at the waist and the lower portion of her body fell at the place where the temple is currently located.