Are you shocked to hear that there are temples in India where men are not allowed? Don't be, because it is a fact!
There are no two ways about India being a patriarchal society and that men, for ages, have been at the center of major political and economical power here. In the context of religion, the pre-eminence of men can hardly be debated. In the backdrop of a male-dominated society, men are the custodian of many holy rituals as per the Hindu laws. Even though male and female gods enjoy the same kind of power and following, and there is an element of feminism in the Hindu religion, it still vests more powers in men vis-à-vis women.
Interestingly though, the Hindu religion also has a certain underlying nonconformist angle to its essence. The presence of female-only temples in India is a corroboration of the same. While you may have heard the recent conflicts regarding allowing women into temples where females are not allowed in India, we will cover eight temples in India where men are not allowed entry.
It is a temple that accepts the dominance of women that is highlighted during the Pongal celebrations every year. During this festival, men are barred from accessing the temple premises. Not just that, there are a few other selected dates and festivals where men cannot enter through the temple doors.
The Temple finds a place in the Guinness Book of World Records too. Every year, during Pongal, the place transforms into a conglomeration of about three million women, making it the largest gathering of the female folk in a religious place.
Located in Kerala, in a small town called Attukal, the Temple was built in reverence of Goddess Bhadrakali, who killed Daruka, the Demon king born from Lord Shiva's third eye. During the Attakal Pongala festival, women from the region come together to offer bangles and prayers to the Goddess. The celebrations are heightened in the third shrine.
Located in a small town in Rajasthan, Pushkar, this fourteenth-century Temple is one of the three temples in India dedicated to Lord Brahma. There are very few temples in the world built to worship Brahmaji.
It is another Temple in the country where men are not allowed entry during the entire year. It is because of a belief that it has made to the list of the female-only temples in India. As per local legend, Lord Brahma, who was only married to Goddess Saraswati, had to perform a yajna, but because his wife was getting late, he married Goddess Gayatri in this Temple to complete the rituals. His decision so angered Goddess Saraswati that she cursed the Temple that no married man ever can cross the Temple doors or else his marital life would be filled with unlimited stress and tension. Ever since, no man, especially married men, have entered the premises here or taken any chance with the place's sanctum.'
This famous Temple located in the Nilachal Hills of western Guwahati in Assam is another temple in India where men are not allowed, of course not perpetually – just on certain days. As per local folklore and Hindu scriptures, the Temple or the Shakti Peetham is located at the exact place where Lord Shiva had performed his Tandava Nitriya around the dead body of Sati, his wife. The Temple was built in respect of Sati or Goddess Parvati.
The annual Ambubachi Mela is when the doors of the Temple are closed for men for about four to five days. During this time, the place is crowded with thousands of devotees, especially women. The religious place comes to life during these four to five days even though the Temple's main door remains closed. It is believed that the Goddess menstruates during this time, and therefore, even the daily rituals are performed by women priests or sanyasis. Only women devotees can access the premises of the Temple during these days. The pious menstrual red cloth of the Goddess is handed out to devotees.
It is believed that at this spot, Goddess Parvati did Tapasya to win Lord Shiva's love. She chose a desolate site surrounded by the mighty Indian Ocean for her prayers. The Kumari Amman Temple is located in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. It is a completely female-only temple in India that does not permit married men to enter the premises. Unmarried men are still allowed inside but only till the gate. The Sanctorum of the premises has a specially-built temple of Kanya Maa Bhagwati Durga, where only females are allowed to enter and offer their prayers.
The Mata Temple in the Muzaffarpur district in Bihar is another temple where men are not allowed entry during certain days in the year. It is the time when the Mata has her periods. Only women are allowed inside with the Temple out-of-bounds, even for male priests during this time.