dean_anderson at SACARI.ORG
Mon Aug 4 16:24:13 EDT 2003
An important distinction to make is that between Hindus and those who look
like Hindus, i.e. non-foreigners.
Most Hindus consider it possible to convert to Hinduism. Last I heard, the
officials at Viswanath held this view and allowed foreigners, i.e. those of
European appearance, to enter the temple if they could establish that they
were Hindus. This is also common in South India.
A minority consider it impossible to convert to Hinduism and they bar all
those of European appearance from temples (unless they can convince them
that they are Kashmiris -- which is not an easy task.) The temples in Nepal
and Orissa are closed on these grounds except for many of the
In practice, the decision by the conservatives is usually made on the
questionable basis of skin color. Those with dark skin and hair and who
dress Indian can often enter without being stopped. If someone was to
announce that they were not a Hindu, then they might be barred but of
course almost no one does that. I have also heard of "westernized" Hindus
being barred and also those who are publicly known to be non-Hindu like
From: Artur Karp [SMTP:karp at MERCURY.CI.UW.EDU.PL]
Sent: Sunday, August 03, 2003 12:59 AM
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Subject: Vishvanath Temple
Dear List Memebers,
Could anyone please inform me whether the Vishvanath Temple in Benares is
open to non-Hindus?
If yes - then from when?
Thank you in advance,
University of Warsaw
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