Sabarimala is not the only temple,where entry of women in particular age is restricted.There are many such customs in many other temples.And,most importantly,there are temples even in Kerala,where men are not allowed to enter into temples.
C.P.Rinitha finds out famous temples across the country where rare rituals are performed.
1. Attukal Temple:
The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, a temple located in Kerala that worships women, has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the Pongala festival which sees around three million women participate. Men are not allowed to enter the temple that sees the largest gathering of women during the festival.
2. Chakkulathukavu Temple:
Another temple located in Kerala that worships Goddess Bhagavathi and observes an annual ritual called ‘Naari Puja‘ in which the male priest washes the feet of women devotees fasting for 10 days on the first Friday of December. The day is called Dhanu. During ‘Naari Puja‘, only women are allowed to enter the temple.
3. Santoshi Maa ‘Vrat’:
The ‘vrat‘ for Santoshi Maa is observed strictly by women or unmarried girls. They are prohibited to eat sour fruits or pickles during that period. Males are allowed to enter the temple to worship the goddess but are strictly prohibited from entering the premises on Fridays.
4. Lord Brahma Temple:
This 14th century temple located in Pushkar in Rajasthan prohibits married men from entering its premises. This is the only Brahma temple in the world.
The Puranas suggest that Lord Brahma had performed a yagna at Pushkar Lake with his wife Goddess Saraswati who got late for the event. Therefore, Lord Brahma married Goddess Gayatri and performed the ritual due to which Goddess Saraswati cursed the temple saying that “no married man is allowed to visit the inner sanctum otherwise a trouble will arise in his marital life.”
This is the reason men are not allowed to enter this temple.
Only ascetics can perform the puja here. All offerings by the devotees are accepted from the outer hall of the shrine by a celibate priest.
5. Bhagati Maa Temple:
This temple, located in Kanyakumari, worships Kanya Maa Bhagawati Durga who is said to have gone to an isolated area in the middle of the ocean for Tapasya so that she could ask for Lord Shiva as her husband.
According to the Puranas, the spine of a Sati fell on the shrine. The goddess is also known as the Goddess of Sanyasa.
Due to these reasons, sanyasi men are allowed till the gate of the temple, while married men are prohibited from entering the premises. Kanya(virgin) Ma Bhagawati Durga is worshipped by women only.
6. Mata Temple:
During a particular period, men are strictly prohibited to enter this temple located in Muzaffarpur in Bihar. The rules are so strict that even a male priest is not allowed to enter the premises. Only women are allowed to enter this temple during that particular period.Here is the second part of series of articles on Sabarimala.