You don’t need an appointment to visit temples. For sure, temples too need to be regulated, which is why they’re open for a certain number of hours.
But you can’t visit the Panchubarahi temple in Odisha’s Kendrapara on Tuesdays.
Reason? Tuesdays are off for all priests and the temple invariably remains closed for local devotees who mostly comprise fishermen.
According to a report, the priests there leave a ghee-burning lamp that’s meant to remain lit for the 24 hours the temple is closed.
The report adds that Panchubarahi is unique in many ways. Men are prohibited and although it was founded five centuries back, it’s been just five years since the temple was located to its present location.
What’s it about Tuesday when those who manage the temple take their weekly off?
“Tuesday is dedicated to Durga, Kali, Ma Mangala and Ma Parvati. We fast on Tuesdays,” Banalata Dalei, one of the priests, told the daily.
Sasmita Rout, a former sarpanch in the area, elaborated: “A weekly holiday is compulsory in offices, factories, and other establishments. This temple being a workplace for the priests, so they get a weekly holiday here.”
About the location change, the panchayat samiti member of Satabhaya gram panchayat said the temple, which ran from the Bay of Bengal, Ganyaranjan Panda, was around 15 km from a sea coast.
The temple had to be moved following threats of land erosion as the sea came inwards.
And there’s a story behind the gag on men. Lore has it that a male priest, who would drink excessively, besmirched the goddess’s stone idols.
Devotees then had a policy to only have women priests in the temple.