DHANUSA, Oct 4: At a time when there is a strong advocacy for gender equity, there is an age-old tradition existing here that bars women from entering the Rajadevi Temple in Janakpur, the city of ancient and famous Janaki Temple, during the Dashain festival.
Women devotees are allowed to pay homage to the deity from the temple window that remains open for 15 days in the Dashain just for themselves in particular.
While rights activists see the practice as a superstition and an act of discrimination against women, religious practitioners hold a different view. A local belief has it that in ancient time, when a woman entered the temple to perform puja, she all of a sudden disappeared and never returned, said priest Ram Giri, explaining it one of the reasons for the bar for women.
Another reason is that women during their monthly period may also enter the temple for worship, making the site 'impure'. Deity Rajdevi is being worshipped as Kuldevi, special and ancestral deity of King Janak.
Right activist Binod Rabi Das is a vocal critic of the practice, terming it merely a superstition beyond limit. He demanded that such practices that discriminate against women should come to an end. RSS