We all know the ruckus Sabarimala verdict has caused on social, religious, and traditional front. Barring of women to enter Lord Ayappa’s temple, Supreme Court outlawing this traditional practice, and finally, people opposing the verdict is still stirring the political and social environment on the grounds of gender equality and social justice.
Talking of social justice and gender equality, however, one must not ignore the other side of the same coin. And yes, there does exist the other side.
No matter how much underprivileged Indian women are, how much patriarchal Indian society is, and how much misogyny is practiced here when it comes to tradition, gender discrimination is not just one-sided.
You know only of Sabarimala temple which doesn’t allow women to enter, but there are many temples in India which don’t allow men to enter their premises.
1. Devi Kanyakumari Temple, Kanyakumari
(Courtesy: Kanyakumari Tourism)
The story behind this temple is that after the death of Goddess Sati when Lord Shiva was carrying her corpse to Kailasa, her backbone fell at the point where this temple is situated. The temple, henceforth, is also called Shakti Peetha. The Goddess of this temple is Bhagwati, who is a Sanyasi (sanctum sanctorum). Henceforth, married men have been barred from entering the premises, while unmarried men can only come only up to the temple’s gate.
2. Lord Brahma Temple, Rajasthan
The story behind this temple, situated near the Pushkar Lake in Rajasthan has an interesting story. It is said that Lord Brahma once was waiting for Goddess Saraswati, his wife, to perform Yagna. Since she got late, and the Yagna could not be performed without the wife, the Lord married Gayatri Devi and started the rituals.
When Goddess Saraswati arrived, she got angry seeing someone else in her place and cursed Lord Brahma. Since then, it is not allowed for unmarried men to enter this temple.
3. Kamakhya Temple, Vishakhapatnam
(Courtesy: Reckon Talk)
If you think Sabarimala temple insults the menstruation cycle of women, you should be happy to know that Kamakhya Temple, the temple where the creative divine form of women is worshipped, doesn’t allow men to enter for 4-5 days every month. It is in the respect of women’s menstruating cycles, in which women might need more privacy.
4. Mata Temple, Muzaffarpur
The management of this temple also observes a period of some days every month to give full privacy to women in “those days”. Rules and regulations here are quite strict and those who don’t follow them are severely punished.
At this period, even the priest is not allowed to visit the temple, and its women who perform all the rituals, that too following proper rules set by the management of the temple.
5. Attukal Temple, Kerala
Located in Trivandrum, this temple does not allow men to enter at the time of Sankranti celebrations. In these days, around 30 lakh women devotees participate in the rituals which are specially performed for the Kanyaka Devi.
Looking at these, I think we need to revisit and revise our radical views about the Sabarimala verdict. I am not opposing the Sabarimala verdict, as it rectifies a mistake which was being committed by the devotees since forever. I am just throwing a light on the similar issues which also need to be dealt with.