Even as the heated debate on entry of women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple refuses to abate, the Kartikeya temple in Pehowa town of Haryana enjoys relative anonymity. In Hindu traditions, Kartikeya is revered as the elder son of Lord Shiva.

The shrine in Haryana is a far cry from the stone sculpted grandeur of Sabarimala, but it is also out of bounds for women. It is believed that any woman who enters the garbha griha (sanctum sanctorum), will be widowed for seven births.

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People from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi visit the temple and offer prayers to ancestors. TOI visited the shrine to ascertain the reasons why women are restricted from entering the temple.