Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Are temples for Hindus only?

There are some temples in India which do not allow non-Hindus to enter. The Jagannath temple in Puri doesn't permit any foreigners. Why are we doing this and where are we going with it?

Temples are places of worship, how does it matter what religion or country one belongs to as long as all they want to do is pray to God. I can understand that it would hurt the sentiments on other believers if a not-so-knowledgeable person, even unintentionally, did something that was not considered permissible in a temple. There are ways to overcome to that. The priests of the temple could take the onus of printing out booklets which laid down general guidelines. It certainly doesn't mean that we should shun out people from other religions/countries. We should be happy that there are people from all around the world who are curious to know more about our religion.

The priests of these temples are learned people and I would really like to know their reason behind this policy. If anybody has an opinion on this, I would love to hear it.


Manisha said...

The Meenakshi temple in Madurai is another temple where non-Hindus are not allowed inside the main temple. The first time I'd gone there, I was not allowed to enter 'coz I wasn't wearing a 'bindi' and the gatekeepers thought thats what would qualify me to be a Hindu!! Suprisingly, as soon as I procured one and put it on, I immediately became a Hindu and was deemed fit to enter the temple.

Smriti said...

@Manisha, somehow I didn't get an e-mail on this comment and hence the late reply. Yes, I too have heard about this. It all seems like a facade. Here the injustice is double-fold: the discrimination on the basis of religion and then how can you identify one's religion by one's appearance?