Images of India : Women fight to enter temples…

womanprayFor centuries, temples and shrines in India have used tradition to keep women out, but now women are increasingly fighting for their right to worship. In recent months, the patriarchal managements of shrines that bar women devotees, have been facing unprecedented challenge. Last month, several hundred women took part in a march from Pune towards the Shani Shingnapur temple, Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. Though they were stopped and detained en route, their spirited attempt succeeded in lodging their protest in the national consciousness. The women had planned to storm the temple after media reports in November said the temple trust had carried out a purification ritual because a woman had climbed the prayer platform and touched the deity. Another temple, Sabarimala in Kerala, which bars all women of reproductive age from entering the shrine, has also been in the news recently over similar matters. A temple official said women would be allowed access there, only if a machine was invented to detect if they were ‘pure’ – meaning that they weren’t menstruating.