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As question says, why women were not allowed to offer prayers at Shingnapur Shani Temple, which is in Maharashtra? Was there any reason for this tradition or was this just a superstition?

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    Because the priests follow what the people want, and the people who started the temple did not want women, so they created a superstition to explain why. – Swami Vishwananda Dec 29 '15 at 5:05
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    The worship of murthis is not superstition. The worship of Shani Deva is not superstition. the stories about women are. The Lord is not partial. The Lord looks on all the same. – Swami Vishwananda Dec 29 '15 at 6:01
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    @SwamiVishwananda what i meant was about stories of women only only, not about idols or anything else. What about Ayyappa Temple of Sabarimala? – The Destroyer Dec 29 '15 at 6:05
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    Shabarimala temple has a myth about it's origin which makes fertile women debarred from entering the temple. There are other Ayyappa temple all over India where women are allowed. It's just that this certain 'pratishta' at Shabarimala because he's 'nitya brahmachari' disallows women. hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/10128/70 – Vineet Menon Jan 17 '16 at 13:28
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    Some gods are in brahmacharya deeksha. Sanideva was officially married but is ever in a state of brahmacharya-bound tapasya. We must respect this deeksha and consequently, women must stay away. – user1195 Jun 16 '17 at 5:18
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It could be because of the association of Shani Dev with celibacy or Brahmacharya. Even though there are stories of him being married, the most popular story of him and his wife talks about his ignoring his conjugal duties for meditation. This particular legend is from the time when Shani Dev refused to glance at the newly created Ganesh:

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Also, the deity here is Swayambhu and without his family unlike some other temples. Perhaps that also reinforced the belief of his Brahmacharya. This may be only a popular belief but since beliefs are important while forming rules and regulations this could be one logical explanation why women were not permitted to enter his most popular shrine at Shingnapur.

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This tradition is now overruled followed by women activists and court orders September 2016 onwards.

References: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shani-shingnapur-temple-lifts-ban-on-womens-entry/article8451406.ece

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