For centuries, this Odisha temple has allowed only Dalit women to touch the idols

The Panchubarahi temple in the coastal village of Odisha’s Satabhaya has a unique tradition. Only married women of the local sabar community can enter the sanctum sanctorum and touch the five idols. The daily rituals of the temple deities are also exclusively performed by these women. Male members are allowed darshan but not entry into the sanctum sanctorum.

For almost 400 years the temple has followed the traditions. The tradition was broken for the first time today, only to save the temple from nature’s wrath. The Satabhaya village has been under threat of erosion due to rising sea levels and for last several years, the state government has been relocating the families to another village about 12 km inland. According to reports, as many as 571 families of the fishing village has been shifted to the Bagapatia rehabilitation colony.

Shifting the temple idols, however, is no easy task. The idols are made of stone and have heavy pedestals attached too. For the first time in 400 years, the priestesses had to agree to allow men to help relocate the idols to the new rehabilitation colony.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

The district administration had earlier proposed the state government to allocate funds to shift the idols. Finally today, the idols were lifted and placed on transport vehicles so they can be shifted to Bagapatia colony.

The priestess performed the rituals and adorned the idols with clothes and garlands. The men who were allowed entry for a day lifted the idols up amidst loud chants of prayers and the traditional sounds of ‘hula-huli’, sound women make while performing any auspicious ritual. The hula-huli is a common feature in eastern India.

According to the Times of India report, once the idols have been shifted to their new address, the priestesses will perform a purification ritual to ‘cleanse’ the idols and resume their daily puja in the new temple.

While a temple with only women as priests is indeed unique, temples with Dalit priests are common in Odisha. There are several ‘shakti peeth’ or goddess temples in the state where the worshipping rights have been exclusively held by Dalits. In western Odisha, it is often the priests from the Dalit ‘Majhi’ community who perform the rituals in many goddess temples. People of all castes bow to these priests while performing rituals.

Even in the legends of the Jagannath Temple in Puri, it is mentioned that the Lord Nilamadhab was being worshipped by a tribal chief Viswavasu and after King Indradyumna built the Jagannath temple, the King had decreed that the descendants of Viswavasu will perform the decorating rituals during Rathyatra and Anavasara. The descendants of Lalita, Viswavasu’s daughter who married the King’s Bramhin priest, are known as Supakars who cook the Mahaprasad in the Jagannath temple.

Recently the priest in a Telangana temple carried a Dalit youth on his shoulders in a reenactment of 2700-year-old ritual. In times when vested interests are trying hard to malign India’s culture and instigate caste-based violence, these stories not only bring out our nation’s rich culture to attention but also signify that ours have always been an inclusive society of harmony and equality.


Share This Post and Support:
We need your support to survive in the media industry. Please consider paying us for the content we produce:

To know more about these payments, please click here.


Most read articles recently

AAP Candidate for Gautam Budh Nagar disqualified

AAP candidate for Gautam Buddh Nagar disqualified for failing to arrange 10 persons to back her nomination

As the AAP is not recognised as a national party by the EC, their candidate has to arrange a minimum of 10 people as proposers at the Returning Officer's office to back her nomination.
Tejaswi Surya attacked for Ayudha Puja

Congress IT cell attacks BJP’s Bangalore South candidate for performing Ayudha Puje as per Hindu rituals

Ayudha Puje is one of the widely celebrated festivals in India which falls during the Navratri

NC Lok Sabha candidate Akbar Lone begins a rally with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, says will abuse anyone who abuses Pakistan

Akbar Lone, NC Lok Sabha candidate for Baramulla, said that the country across is a Muslim country and abusing Pakistan would mean he is abusing himself

Congress-friendly journalist tries to shield Dynasty, but Rahul Gandhi spoils the party by pulling a Rahul

Even though journalist Pallavi Ghosh sends out feelers to Congress President, he goes ahead and does completely the opposite.
Owner of AAP propaganda blog agitated when Sushma Swaraj stands up for two underage Hindu girls

AAP propaganda site owner gets angry after India expresses concerns over atrocities against Hindus in Pakistan

Sushma Swaraj's move to seek details of the Incident had agitated quite a few people in Pakistan, including their Information and Broadcasting minister Ch Fawad Hussain, who saw it as an intervention in Pakistan's internal matters.

Facebook arbitrarily suspends account of activist Anshul Saxena, fails to restore account despite no wrongdoing

The social media giant, Facebook, has allegedly resorted to arbitrarily suspending the account of social media user Anshul Saxena

Rahul Gandhi’s Minimum Income Guarantee could kill all other subsidies and be the mother of all scams

Remember, India’s worst-case scenario is also the Dynasty’s best case scenario.

Actor R Madhavan offers support to PM Modi to urge voters to cast votes in elections, gets trolled by ‘liberals’

Because of their sheer bitterness for Modi, these cynics are in no mood to spare anyone who comes out in support of Modi

Where is the money? Rahul Gandhi’s promise is going to cost a whopping Rs 3.60 lakh crore a year, 13% of union budget

Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme of Congress party ensures monthly income of Rs 12,000 for 20% of India's population
Malala has maintained a conspicuous silence over atrocities on Hindu girls in her country

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala’s silence on abduction and forceful conversion of two Hindu girls is deafening

Malala, who often preaches the world about feminist adventures and jumps in to display her intellect over human rights issues especially against women across the world seems to have not found her voice to condemn the bigotry of Pakistanis as she could face severe backlash within her own country.

Latest articles

Connect with us

149,336FansLike
120,885FollowersFollow
31,575SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these


Share This Post and Support: