Shani Shingnapur temple welcomes women devotees


In a historic decision, the famed Shani Shingnapur Temple Trust said women will be permitted to enter and pray at the open-to-sky platform shrine here from Friday.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the trust and was announced by trustee Shalini Lande.

The decision was welcomed by Bhumata Ranragini Brigade (BRB) president Trupti Desai, who had been campaigning for months seeking women’s entry.

For over four centuries, women have been barred from stepping onto the high platform on which stands a black stone-symbolising Shanidev or Lord Saturn here.

Last week the Bombay High Court had ruled that women devotees cannot be barred from entering the temple to offer prayers.

In November, the BRB began a high decibel campaign seeking entry to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in Ahmednagar, some 300 kilometres from Mumbai.

BRB activists and other women’s group has been detained on several occasions whenever they tried to march to the temple. The activists were however blocked at the outskirts of the village.

The campaign also sparked a debate over the issue of allowing women into the sanctum sanctorum of other temples in Maharashtra.