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Women Can Now Perform Puja Inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Sri Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur

Women were never allowed to enter the Garbha Griha or Sanctum Sanctorum of the 7th century Sri Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Only men were allowed to perform the puja inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. But after protests from various women organizations, now the authorities have changed the age-old tradition and women can now perform puja inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Mahalaxmi Temple.
Note – Many people from South India will be surprised reading this news as only priests are allowed inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of Temples in South India. This is a practice strictly followed in most temples in South India. But in many temples in north and western parts of India devotees are allowed inside the Garbha Griha and they can touch and offer prayers and offerings to the murti directly.
The Hindu reports
Kolhapur Collector Laxmikant Deshmukh and Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Satej Patil on Friday announced that women would henceforth be allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Sri Mahalakshmi temple here.
The issue was first raised by Ram Kadam, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLA, in the Assembly asking why women were prohibited. After this triggered a debate in the media, Neeta Kelkar, women's wing leader of the BJP from Sangli, along with others forcibly entered the sanctum sanctorum on Wednesday. The priests could not stop them from defying the ban.

Irony is in the fact that women are forbidden to worship a woman deity. There are many such traditions in Hinduism started by men and followed by people who have no real knowledge of Sanatana Dharma. Such discriminations should be forcibly removed.