Bhumata Brigade chief Trupti Desai, who campaigned successfully to break the bar on entry of women in some Hindu temples, on Thursday offered prayers at the famous Kapaleshwar temple here, but refrained from entering its ‘garbha griha’ (sanctum sanctorum).
Desai and other women activists arrived at the temple at around noon and offered prayers from outside the ‘garbha griha’ amid tight police arrangements at the place, Inspector P H Sapkale, in-charge of Panchavati police station, said.
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Later, she and the others were escorted in a police van some distance away from the temple, from where they left for Pune.
Last Thursday, Desai had to return without offering prayers following strong opposition from locals, priests and trustees of the temple. In view of Desai’s visit on Thursday, police had increased security in and around the famous Kapaleshwar temple, situated on the banks of river Godavari in Panchavati area of the city.
Some city residents had on Wednesday held a meeting at a hall behind the temple and strongly opposed Desai’s earlier decision to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on Thursday.
They were of the view that she should offer prayers from outside the ‘garbha griha’ where general public is allowed. Notably, men are also not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum where only priests are permitted to perform the regular puja.
Meanwhile, the ‘shiva linga’ inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple was decorated with flowers and leaves this morning. When Desai and her colleagues arrived in the temple, its trust members and police officials explained to her the rules and traditions, following which she offered prayers but did not enter the sanctum sanctorum.
Meanwhile, people gathered and began shouting slogans when Desai entered the temple and after she came out. Police used lathis to disperse a few devotees from the area. Later, Desai and other activists returned to Pune.