A candid confession first: I do not really follow news. Being a working woman and juggling many things means that following media news coverage has fallen to the bottom of the priority list. Yet, every now and then comes a relaxed morning and one decides to pick up the newspaper and get reacquainted with the world around.
Recently, a story caught by eye about Trimbakeshwar Temple and the controversy regarding restricted entry to women (including having to wear a wet cotton sari). I am completely flummoxed. What exactly is happening?
I spent my college years in Nashik in the 1990s. Trimbakeshwar was about an hour's bus journey away from Nashik. I have visited Trimbak temple many times in those years--sometimes with family and sometimes with friends. Family visits were a little more religious in nature but visits with friends were, ahem, not so religious. Trimbak temple is a beautiful stone structure surrounded by green mountains. A visit to Trimbak with friends usually was at the beginning or end of a mountain trek. The temple was just too serene and calm a place to not visit during those treks. It was not a commercialized pilgrimage centre then.
If we cannot maintain peace around such places, will they even remain places of worship? Or are we on a mission to create more places of conflict?
I have been inside the temple right up to the idol with no issues or obstacles whatsoever. I was definitely a girl even then and I do not ever remember wearing saris! In fact, quite a few times I have gone inside in the usual trekking gear. I am sure many of my other friends have similar memories of visiting Trimbak temple.
No one harassed us or stopped us for being girls. No one asked us ever to change our attire before entry. We liked going there to admire the beauty of the place and bask in the serenity of the surroundings.
What changed in the years in between? Who changed the rules? Were there even any rules or they were made up at some point? What exactly is the issue here? I have no idea. I just feel deeply saddened. Trimbak was a green serene beautiful place. If we cannot maintain the peace, serenity and nature's beauty around such places, will they even remain places of worship? Or are we on a mission to create more places of conflict?
I think I will just go back to not following the media news coverage--you know, being a woman and all that.
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