Isn't it common to hear about religious places where women are not allowed? For a change, shall we look around some shrines where men are not allowed in India? Yes, you heard it right! In these places, men are not allowed during a few occasions. And believe it, several mythological stories are supporting this tradition.
Let us take a detour to these strange places where men are not allowed in India!
Brahma Temple in Pushkar
Photo Courtesy: Rashmi.parab
Lord Brahma Temple Pushkar Rajasthan
As per the legend, once Brahma was about to perform a big yaga (yajna) but he couldn't begin without his wife, Savitri. She would have gone out to bring her friends (other goddesses) for the yajna. Meanwhile, the auspicious time will be running out, so Brahma decides to marry immediately to get a partner for yajna. He quickly marries a lady called Gayathri and performs the yagna.
Goddess Savitri returns with her friends only to see that Brahma has married without her permission. In her anger, she curses Brahma that he will only be worshipped in Pushkar and escapes to a hill. Surprisingly, the most prominent Brahma temple is located in Pushkar in Rajasthan.
Savitri Temple on the hill top
Photo Courtesy: Ekabhishek
Goddess Savitri Temple is located on a hill top near to Brahma temple in Pushkar. According to the tradition, married men are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum of Brahma Temple in Pushkar.
Attukkal Bhagavathy Temple - Pongala festival
Sri Attukkal Bhagavathy Temple has won a Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest women gathering for a religious activity. It is the Attukkal Pongala annual festival where women from different regions participate. Women come here and prepare Pongal (a sweet dish) in the temple premises. Men don't join the fiesta, nor do they come here during the time of the festival. Attukkal Bhagavathy Temple is in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
Attukkal Pongala Festival
Photo Courtesy: Maheshsudhakar
Chengannur Bhagavathy Temple
There are several legends relating to Chengannur Bhagavathy Temple. One of them being the story of Goddess having her menstrual periods. The mythology says, after Shiva's marriage to young Goddess Parvathi, they come to Chengannur. Here the goddess attains puberty and thus 'menstrual cycles' are followed once a month in the temple.
Chengannur Mahadeva Temple is a famous temple nearby
Photo Courtesy: RajeshUnuppally
Another story says, once a cloth covering the goddess had become red. Surprised, the priest went and showed it to some women. They confirmed that the goddess is having her periods. Hence, the tradition is followed from a long time. The temple is closed for three days every month and only women are allowed to see the goddess at these times. Even on the fourth day, women secretly take the idol to give her a purifying bath and it is only then the male priests are allowed to do abhisheka.
Chakkulathikavu Temple also celebrates the Pongala Festival every year in Allappuzha. This Pongala Festival happens around the temple premises, and only women take part in these celebrations.
Each belief or custom has its own roots and hence it takes a long time to eradicate. Having said that, everyone irrespective of caste, gender or community has equal right to enter any place. However, all these customs are man-made and a practical approach is a better way to understand things.