Temples are places of worship and every person has the right to worship. Of late women have fought for their right to enter some temples that they are barred from entering since ages. One might assume that it is the women who are barred from entry inside a few temples. You might be surprised to know that in India few temples have a no entry for men too. Here are a few of them. Some temples completely ban entry of men at all times and some temples where men are not allowed inside during few festivals or rituals.
1. Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathi temple, Kerala
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathi Amman in Kerala. There are a few popular festivals here. Nari pooja is conducted where male priests wash the feet of female devotees who have fasted for 10 days. This tradition takes place somewhere in the month of December on a day called Dhanu. Men are not allowed inside this temple at this time.
Pongala festival is another occasion here that is celebrated in Vrichikam month (November/December) is the most popular event here. Women get rice coconut and jaggery in earthen pots and cook the same around the temple. The priest lights a divine fire inside the temple and this flame is forwarded to all the women for lighting their own oven to make the pongala. Panthrandu Noyampu is when the women fast and seek the blessings of Goddess Chakkulathamma.
2. Jagatpita Brahma Temple Pushkar, Rajasthan
Brahma the creator has only three temples dedicated to him in India. One of them the Jagatpita Brahma temple is situated in Pushkar Rajasthan. It was built in the 14th century and dedicated to Lord Brahma and his second consort Gayatri Devi.
Married men cannot come inside the temple and their offerings are collected from the outer hall. According to the legend Brahma had to perform a Yagna and his wife Goddess Saraswathi did not get there on time. The holy scriptures say that a person cannot complete a Yagna without his wife beside him. So, Lord Brahma married Goddess Gayatri and completed the ritual. Ultimately, Goddess Saraswathi arrived and was furious at the turn of events. She laid a curse that if married men enter the inner sanctum there will be problems in their marital life.
This is the reason men are not allowed inside. Only women and sanyasis can to the inner precincts of the temple.
An important festival is held on Kartik Poornima day here.
3. Bhagavati Amman, Tamil Nadu
The Bhagavati Amman temple in Kanyakumari is another temple where men are not allowed. This is the place where the spine of Sati, Shiva’s first wife fell.
Legend has it that Ma Parvati started a severe penance in the middle of the Ocean to get Lord Shiva as her husband. At the same time Banasur a rakshas was creating havoc and he was destined to die in hands of a virgin girl only. So the wandering sage Narad created a situation where the goddess remained a virgin and destroyed the evil rakshas.
4. Kamrup Kamkhya Temple, Assam
This temple is the place of one of the 51 Sakthi peeths across India. The Goddess here is said to menstruate and only women are allowed to enter premises during their period. There are women priests and sanyasis in this temple.
It is believed that when the Sati died, Lord Vishnu cut her into 108 parts to pacify Lord Shiva. Each part fell on earth and became a Sakthi peeth. This is the place where the womb and vagina fell. The temple is closed for 3 days in the Hindu month of Ashad(June-July) as it is believed the goddess mensturates during this period.
The menstrual cloth of the goddess is revered and distributed as Prasad to the devotees.
5. Chengannur BhagawathiAmmann temple
This Goddess is also said to menstruate and men are not allowed during this period.
6. Attukal Temple, Kerala
The famous Attukal is located near in Kerala some 2kms away from Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The temple is dedicated to God Parvathi called Kannaki here.
This temple entered Guinness Book of Records for the largest gathering of 3 million women who participated in the Pongala festival. This festival is held between February & March for 10 days and the goddess is adorned with bangles. Again, men are not allowed here.
7. Durga Mata Temple, Bihar
There is another Ma Durga temple in Muzaffarpur, Kharauna, Bihar where men are not allowed to visit during particular days
This article cannot be complete without mentioning the entry rules at Tryambakeshwar Temple. At one point in time women could not enter the inner sanctum of this holy and ancient site. A Bombay high court order in 1996 decreed that henceforth men are also barred from entering this sanctum. It is poetic justice indeed for women!