New Delhi,Oct 28: When reams are being written on Women Empowerment and hours and hours are devoted on this topic on all prime time channels, many temples across India still do not allow women enter into these temples. The arguments are many, some defy logic while others are backed by sound reasoning. Seeded in tradition and mythology, even the judiciary treads this forbidden path with caution. Recently Shani Shingnapur and Sabarimala temples were in the news over gender discrimination for not letting women enter the shrine. The Supreme Court is yet to come out with its decision on the Sabarimala Temple. It would be interesting to look into the list of temples where women are not allowed:
1. Bimala Khanda Shakti Peeth: This temple situated within the premises of Jagannath Temple at Puri in Odisha, bars women from entering the temple because all women, according to the temple rules, are incarnation of goddess Kali and therefore no women is allowed to enter into the temple.
2. Mawali Mata Mandir at Dhamtari in Chhattisgarh: The women are not allowed just because a priest had once dreamt of the deity rising from the earth and telling him that since she was a maiden, women should not be allowed in.The reason for women being barred at this temple is a little more recent.
3. Mangal Chandi Temple at Bokaro in Jharkhand: According to the head priest women are barred from entering inside the temple, but can offer puja from a distance of about 100 meters outside the temple.The 200-year-old temple restricts entry of women and only men devotees can offer puja as people believe it would displease the deity and invite misfortune. The temple is situated at Kusmataad village under Kasmar Block.
4. Patbausi Satra at Berpeta Satra in Assam: This is a Vaishnav temple and women are not allowed inside. Even the then PM Indira Gandhi was not allowed to enter. 15th century saint Srimanta Sankardeva established this monastery in Assam, which disbarred women into the sanctum sanctorum. Even though the Governor persuaded the spiritual head of the Satra (Sattradhikar) to shun the century-old tradition, the ban has been reimposed.
5. Shola Shivling Saneshwar, Devsthan Satara, Maharashtra: Like many Shani temples, this temple too bars women from entering the temple.
6. Ghatai Devi Mandir, Satara, Maharastra: Women cannot enter the temple. After much ruckus and controversy the signboard which instructed women not to enter has been remove, but women are still not allowed.
7.Kartikeya Temple, Pehowa, Haryana and in Pushkar, Rajasthan The temple celebrates the celibate (Brahmachari) form of Lord Kartikeya and therefore bars women from entering the temple. The stories surrounding this 5th century BC shrine, which is situated near the Punjab-Haryana border, states that any women visiting it will be cursed even if they are seeking blessings.
8. The Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in Kerala: Sabarimala is believed to be the place where the Hindu god Ayyappan meditated after killing the powerful demoness Mahishi. The temple bans girls and women between the ages of 10 to 50 — that is if they are of menstruating age because Ayyappan is a Bramhachari (celibate).