Shani Shingnapur temple says goodbye to 400-year-old tradition, lets women enter inner sanctum
After much resistance and protests, the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmadnagar district has broken its 400-year-old tradition by letting women enter the platform where Lord Shani’s idol resides.
Earlier today, around 50 men had barged into the inner sanctum, breaking barricades that were set up by the temple’s trustees, in order to offer ‘Jal Pooja’ on the occasion of Gudi Padwa.
Shortly after the commotion, the trustees decided to open up the sanctum sanctorum for everyone including women. Women had been barred from entering the shrine since 400 years.
The temple had made news in recent times when villagers carried out a purification simply because a woman had gotten on the platform to offer prayers to the Shani idol. This had enraged women activists, who after failed attempts to enter the temple filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). At the hearing of this PIL last Wednesday, the Bombay High Court came out in support of women too.
This decision of the trustees is historic in nature because until 2011 women were not even allowed in the vicinity of the temple. From today, however, both men and women will be able to offer prayers at the temple.