04/04/2016 9:26 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Trimbakeshwar Temple's Idea Of Gender Equality Is Not Allowing Men To Enter Core Area

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Hindu pilgrims enter a temple in Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra, India, on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. Millions of pilgrims in a landscape awash in saffron make their way to the waters of the holy Godavari River for the Kumbh Mela, the festival of the pitcher. It is one of the largest religious festivals on the face of the planet. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

NASHIK -- The Trimbakeshwar Temple authorities yesterday imposed a restriction on men's entry too into the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Shiva shrine with an aim to provide "equal treatment" to both the genders, a trustee said.

The decision, which takes effect from today, comes in the wake of the Bombay High Court verdict giving women equal right to men with regard to entry into temples.

It was decided this morning after a board meeting of the Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust under Chairperson and District Judge Urmila Phalke Joshi, Lalita Shinde, one of the trustees told .

The meeting was attended by Secretary N M Nagare as well as Trust members Kailas Ghule, Yadavrao Tungar, Shrikant Gaidhani, and Sachindra Pachorkar.

"The decision was taken to ensure equal treatment to both men and women," Shinde said.

The development comes a day after Bhumata Ranragini Brigade Trupti Desai and 25 other women activists were taken into preventive custody to stop them from entering into the inner sanctum of the famous Shani temple in Ahmednagar's Shingnapur village. They were later released.

The ancient temple, located 30 kms from Nashik, is a major Lord Shiva shrine of the country, which has one of the 12 'jyotirlingas', drawing devotees from far and wide.

According to Ghule, a member of the Trimbakeshwar Temple Trust, the ban on entry of women into the 'garbhagriha' is an age-old tradition and not something enforced in recent times. The ban goes back to the Peshwa period.

As per tradition, only men were allowed entry daily between 6-7 AM into the area where the main 'linga' is placed, that too by putting on a specific gear called the sovala (silk clothing).

Women, can, however have 'darshan' from outside the core area.

Some priests in the temple town said most of the women devotees might not want to defy the tradition.

Seeking to give a scientific dimension to the practice, they said there are certain rays that concentrate in the core area which could probably be harmful to the health of women.

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