Authorities belonging to a temple in Uttar Pradesh have sparked a massive row after they purified the place with holy water from Ganga River following the entry of a female MLA of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On July 12, BJP MLA Manisha Anuragi from Rath assembly segment in Hamirpur, was near Muskura Khurd to distribute uniforms among schoolchildren, when she decided to visit the ashram of Rishi Dhroom.
The women deities are not allowed to enter inside temple premises, as according to the rules of the temple authorities, ladies are supposed to pray only from outside.
"I was not around that day or I would have told her not to go inside. She went inside due to ignorance and prayed. To uphold our tradition, we had to undertake the purification process. We had to purify the whole place with Ganga water and carry the idol of Rishi Dhroom in a small palanquin all the way to Allahabad for a holy bath," Swami Dayanand, a priest at the Ashram, told Hindustan Times.
To justify how Anuragi did a mistake by entering the temple, two devotees said that although it was supposed to rain on July 12, there was no rainfall on that day. They also added that Uttar Pradesh received heavy rainfall only after they performed the purification ritual.
"The day she stepped inside, black clouds encircled (the area) but it did not rain. Next day, we gave Rishi Dhroom a bath at the Sangam. It (the rain) hasn't stopped since then. See, the purification has satisfied the seer and it is raining," the two deities Sanjay Raj Singh and Om Prakash were quoted as saying by the daily.
A few devotees even said that the last time a group of women had performed some ritual at the temple, the area had witnessed a four-decade-long drought.
Meanwhile, the woman BJP MLA has said that she was not aware of the tradition and has criticised it. "People were saying so much about this temple so I became curious and wanted to pay obeisance. I was not aware of the tradition and local people were with me at that time. It's an insult to women if such things have happened. These are deeds of half-witted people," she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Why are women not allowed into the temple?
According to the devotees of the temple, the deity Rishi Dhroom does not like the presence of women as it annoys him. The devotees also believe that his anger causes drought-like conditions in the area.
The temple's history reportedly dates back to the time of the Mahabharata. It is also believed that the Pandavas stayed at this place during their 13-year-exile.