A day after they were allegedly manhandled while trying to enter into the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Trimbakeshwar temple in "dress code", the four women activists on Thursday took 'darshan' of the deity amid police protection.
The activists, led by Vanita Gutte of Pune-based Swarajya Mahila Sanghatana, offered prayer inside the Lord Shiva temple's 'garbha griha' (sanctum sactorum) at around 6 am on Thursday, accompanied by police personnel, Trimbakeshwar police station in-charge H P Kolhe said.
"We are happy that we offered prayer inside the garbha grih (sanctum sanctorum). We arrived in the dress code -- wearing wet cotton and silk saris -- and were treated well by the trustees," Gutte told reporters.
A team of police personnel were deployed at the temple premises ahead of the scheduled visit today, Kolhe said.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Trimbakeshwar temple is one of the 12 'Jyotirlingas' situated in the country.
On Wednesday, as many as 200 persons, including the former municipal president of Trimbakeshwar, were booked under relevant IPC sections for allegedly manhandling with the activists in their bid to enter the temple's core area.
On April 14, based on a complaint by Gutte that they were being obstructed from entering the temple, the police had registered offences against nearly 250 people, including members of the temple trust, some local priests, and temple workers.
Meanwhile, a bandh was observed in the city on Thursday after locals gave a call on Wednesday, opposing police action against some villagers for allegedly obstructing the activists. Most of the shops, restaurants remained shut.
Earlier, the Trimbakeshwar Devasthan Trust decided to allow women into the famous Lord Shiva temple's garbha griha for an hour everyday, but with a rider that they must wear wet cotton or silk clothes while offering prayers in the core area.
The development is significant as it comes 13 days after women were permitted entry to the Shani Shingnapur temple in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra on April 8.
It came to national attention in January when hundreds of women activists attempted to storm into the Shani Shingnapur temple. After months of protests, and the Bombay high court observing that entering a temple was a fundamental right of every person, the temple trust finally decided to allow women on April 8.
The decision opens the doors for women to contest similar bans at other temples.
Image: Women activists enter and pray inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Trimbakeshwar temple. Photograph: ANI_News/Twitter