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Sabarimala Fallout? No Woman Priest Applicants for Nearly 2,000 Temples in Kerala: Report

Priests perform rituals at Har Ki Pauri Ghat on the banks of Ganga river, during Kumbh Mela 2021 in Haridwar, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (PTI Photo)
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Priests perform rituals at Har Ki Pauri Ghat on the banks of Ganga river, during Kumbh Mela 2021 in Haridwar, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (PTI Photo) (

There has been a long-drawn debate on female priests in Hindu temples. Social reformers have been advocating it to establish gender equality in the job of priests too.

No woman has sought appointment as priest in the temples managed by the State Devaswom boards across Kerala.

According to a report by The Hindu, no woman has approached the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar Devaswom boards, which have administrative control over the nearly 2,000 temples in the State, with requests for appointment.

The report further states that there were no qualified women candidates as none has been formally trained in temple rituals and pujas at the two government-recognised thantra schools of the State.

The disinterest of women in priesthood stands in stark contrast with their counterparts in Tamil Nadu where many women have sought permission to perform puja in temples.

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Tamil Nadum minister for the HR and CE temples (managed by the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments department) PK Sekar Babu on Saturday hinted that women who wish to take up the job of a temple priest, would be given training for that.

The Minister said in response to a woman reporter after holding detailed discussions with senior officials of the HR and CE department from across the State.

Sekar Babu had earlier said that the ‘all-caste archaka’ scheme would soon be implemented in HR and CE temples in the state.

Asked whether the government would accept women coming forward to work as priests, the Minister said, “If women wish to work as priests, training will be provided to them and steps will be taken to appoint them as priests. This will be done after getting the approval of the Chief Minister."

There has been a long-drawn debate on female priests in Hindu temples. Social reformers have been advocating it to establish gender equality in the job of priests too.

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first published:June 14, 2021, 13:05 IST