They also gave away ‘tirtha’ and ‘prasada’ to devotees

Two widows performed puja to the presiding deity of Gokarnanatheswara temple at Kudroli here on Sunday.

They also offered puja to goddess Annapurneshwari and gave away ‘tirtha’ and ‘prasada’ to devotees.

Clad in light yellow saris, they were earlier taken to the temple in a procession with the beating of drums and recital of ‘vadya mela’.

Senior Congress leader and the former Union Minister B. Janardhan Poojary led the procession.

Mr. Poojary gave the names of the priests as Indira Shanti of Bannur in Puttur taluk and Lakshmi Shanti of Mooda near Bantwal. He said Ms. Indira had been trained in rituals for four months and Ms. Lakshmi for three days at Guru Mandira on B.C. Road, Mangalore.

He said they were appointed as priests from Sunday. According to him, the women priests will not be put on early morning duty and late evening duty. Mr. Poojary refused to give any other details saying he would do so at a press conference here on Monday.

However, according to the temple sources, Ms. Indira, 45, has passed SSLC and was rolling beedis earlier. Details about Ms. Lakshmi, 67, were not available.

The two women priests refused to speak in detail to presspersons. They only said in Tulu: “Enkleg khushi aatund.” (We are happy). Even men priests at the temple were tight-lipped about the new development and just said: “Aaren Poojarilen Kenle.” (Ask Mr. Poojary).

After entering the temple with Mr. Poojary and other devotees, the women priests performed puja to the statue of Sree Narayana Guru of Kerala, social reformer and founder of the temple. Later, they performed pujas at the shrines of Shani, Ganapati, Shiva, Annapoorneshwari, Nava Grahas, Krisha, and Hanuman. They consecrated god Dattatreya’s statue installed under a peepal tree.

Keywords: women priests

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