Kongalli Mallikarjuna Swamy temple, near Chamarajanagar
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Women not allowed in this 1,200-year-old hill shrine in Karnataka, December 5, 2018: The Times of India
Even as Sabarimala temple in Kerala copes with the Supreme Court ruling allowing women of all ages, a temple on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border near Chamarajanagar has been clear about it — no female devotees are allowed as it’s believed it would disturb the celibacy of the deity.
The Kongalli Mallikarjuna Swamy temple, on the Chamarajanagar-Erode border, is 98km from Mysuru city.
According to temple priest Sadashiva Murthy Swamy, this temple has a 1,200-year-old history and since day one, no woman has been allowed inside.
“The deity is Mallikarjuna Swamy, the contemporary of Mahadeshwara Swamy who is worshipped across South Karnataka. Mallikarjuna Swamy arrived at this hill to perform tapas and later become a deity here. He banned the entry of women of all ages as it may disturb his dhyan. Since then, woman devotees have not entered this shrine," he said.
He added, "However, during the car festival of the deity held in Kongalli village, local women also participate. The ban is applicable for entering the shrine," he said.
Sadashiva Murthy Swamy said devotees of all castes and religions come to this temple. He said as the shrine is located in the middle of the thick forest, the ban may have been put in place keeping in mind the safety of women. "This area is known for tigers, leopards, elephants, bears, etc. It’s not a safe place for women,” he said.
Raju, a resident of Chamarajanagar, said, "There is no clarity on why women are not allowed into the shrine. It’s a tradition. No one has tried to enter forcibly."
Major sevas performed to the deity include walking on charcoal, rudrabhisheka, huli vahana seva where a portrait of the deity is kept on a replica of tiger and taken in a procession. Download The Times of India News App for Latest City News.