Nowadays many women are into travelling solo or in groups. But it is an irony that women are barred from entering numerous places across the globe though gender equality is a hot topic of discussion on various platforms. Let’s take a ringside view of the regions where females are kept at bay.
Mount Athos, Greece
Mount Athos is situated on the tip of the Chalcidice peninsula in north-eastern Greece. Not only women but even female animals are also prohibited from entering Mount Athos, which is known as ‘Holy Mountain’ among the Byzantine Christians. Monks belonging to the Orthodox Christian church live in this patch of sacred land and the total population is 2,262 men including monks, officials, workers and others.
Mount Omine, Japan
Omine is a holy place in the Nara prefecture and is located in the Yoshino-Kumano national park in Kansai region of Japan. Temple Ominesanji, the nerve centre of the Shugendo sect of Japanese Buddhism, sits atop Mount Omine, which has barred women for more than 1,300 years. Though Japan had lifted the ban on women entering many mountains, including Mount Fuji, in 1872, age-old traditions are still followed in Mount Omine.
Galaxy Water Park, Bavaria in Germany
Galaxy Water Park is part of Therme Erding, which is the largest and most popular thermal bath complex in Europe. It is estimated that around 4,000 people daily visit the facility. The park has banned women from riding its high-speed slides after several women suffered injuries to their genital areas after being part of the fun ride.
Patbaushi Satra, Assam in India
The Patbaushi Satra in Assam is also out of bounds for women. In 2010, the then state Governor J B Patnaik, who came to visit the temples near satra, held talks with the officials of Patbaushi Satra and got the nod to allow a team of 20 women to enter the holy place. But later the practice was not taken forward.
Karthikeya Temple, Pushkar in India
Lord Karthikeya is worshipped as a celibate at the Karthikeya Temple in Pushkar and legend has it that women entering the temple will be cursed.
The island of Okinoshima or Fukuoka has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2017. The island, part of the Munakata town, houses an ancient holy shrine where women are barred. Festival is conducted every year at the shrine, which was built in the 17th century, and devotees are allowed to enter the island only during the festival.
Stark naked men enter the holy place after bathing in the sea. The priests from Taisha offer prayers to the marines who laid down their lives in the Russia-Japan war of 1904-05. Only 200 men are allowed to attend the two-hour festival and the island is open to visitors every year on May 27.