Why are non-Hindus not allowed in temples

Why are non-Hindus not allowed to enter temples?

Temples are sacred places and there are certain rules that must be followed before entering the temple. These rules are known as Pancha Shuddhi (5 Kinds of Purity). Accordingly, 5 types of Shuddhi are required before going to the temple:

  1. Sharira (bathing body)
  2. Ahara (satvic food)
  3. Manas (spirit)
  4. Vaak (speech)
  5. Karma (deed)

Not only non-Hindus but also Hindus are not allowed to enter temples if they do not have one of these Shuddhi.

I have seen boards like this in some temples and this could mainly be due to their (non-Hindu) way of life. Non-Hindus often consume non-vegetarian food and in their way of life they do not need to bathe before going to their prayer centers. Since no one is allowed to enter temples without Pancha Shuddhi, some temples take precautions by using such boards. This does not question a person's freedom / right to equality, but merely indicates that people must respect the culture of others and should not encroach on their religious freedom if they are unwilling to obey rules within the Hindu religion .

There are many other temples that do not have this type of board and allow non-Hindus (from birth) for prayers (not for excursions). But in such temples people must also follow Pancha Shuddhi.

For example, in the famous Sree Ayyappa Temple, Sabarimala, non-Hindus are allowed to make a pilgrimage. See this quote from the website.

Certain customs must be strictly observed when making a pilgrimage to Sabarimala. A pilgrim attending Mandalapooja should keep austerity for 41 days. During this time the pilgrim should abstain from non-vegetarian food and carnal pleasures. Pilgrims set out in groups under a guide, each carrying a bundle of cloth called Irumudi Kettu with traditional offerings. Unlike certain Hindu temples, the Sabarimala Temple has no caste or creed restrictions. The temple is open to men of all ages and women who have either passed their fertile age or are before puberty.

See also this link. It emphasizes the need to follow the customs and there is no limit to when they are followed.

Actually we have to be Hindu by our karma (as Swami Vivekanda mentioned about Brahmins), in this sense anyone who follows the customs can visit these temples.


Good answer. I agree that a non-hindu foreigner may not be aware of all of these rules as their religion / culture does not have them.