Bhopal: Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti on Tuesday stirred a row when she entered the famous Mahakal temple in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh wearing saffron robes, her trademark wear, violating the dress code imposed by the ancient shrine.
The firebrand saffron leader was taken aback when priests of the Mahakal shrine, one of 12 Jyotirlingas or abode of Lord Shiva in India, raised objections to her entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine wearing the saffron robe, instead of a sari, the dress code imposed by the authorities for women devotees.
“She may be a former chief minister, but she has to follow the traditions and customs of the temple when she visits the shrine”, one of the priests of the shrine, Mahesh Pujari said.
According to him, the temple committee has announced dress code for male and female devotees seeking entry into the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine.
While male devotees are needed to wear “dhoti”, female followers of the presiding deity of the temple are required to don sari.
Later, Ms Bharti posted a series of tweets to clarify her position on the incident in order to nip the controversy in the bud.
“I have no objection to wear sari. But, I will consider it an honour if priests gift a sari to me taking me as their sister before entering the sanctum sanctorum. I love to wear sari”, a twitter post by her said. In another post, she was effusive in praise of the praise of the priests describing them as the protector of the customs, and traditions of the shrine.
Priests of Mahakal are skilled in martial arts to protect honour of the presiding deity of the shrine and if needed, they never hesitate to sacrifice their lives for it, she added.
The firebrand saffron leader said she held the priests and their diktats in high esteem and hoped the issue was not further precipitated.
She was visiting the temple on the occasion of ‘Sawan Shivratri’, a Hindu festival falling in monsoon season....