Why do Indian Women shave heads at temples in India

Sacred Shaving: Exploring the Tradition of Indian Women Shaving Their Heads at Temples

In India, a unique cultural practice can be observed at many temples where women voluntarily shave their heads as an act of devotion and sacrifice. This ancient tradition holds deep spiritual and cultural significance, rooted in religious beliefs and personal devotion. In this article, we delve into the reasons why Indian women choose to shave their heads at temples, exploring the symbolism and importance behind this sacred act.

Religious Significance

  1. Offering to the Deity: Shaving one's head is considered a powerful form of offering to the deity worshipped at the temple. By sacrificing their hair, women demonstrate their complete surrender and dedication to the divine. It is seen as a way of showing humility, detachment from worldly beauty, and a willingness to give up material attachments.

  2. Fulfilling Vows: Many women make vows or promises to deities in times of personal crisis, seeking divine intervention or expressing gratitude for answered prayers. Shaving their heads at a temple is a way to fulfill these vows, a tangible demonstration of their commitment and faith.

Symbolism and Personal Transformation

  1. Symbol of Purity: In Indian culture, hair is often seen as a symbol of vanity and attachment to worldly appearances. By shaving their heads, women symbolically shed these attachments and embrace a sense of purity and spiritual liberation.

  2. Renunciation and Sacrifice: Shaving one's head is a powerful act of renunciation, representing detachment from worldly desires and a commitment to spiritual pursuits. It signifies a willingness to sacrifice personal vanity and embrace a simpler, more humble way of life.

  3. Equalizing Social Status: In some cases, the act of shaving heads at temples serves to break down social barriers. By removing their hair, women of different castes and social backgrounds appear visually equal, highlighting the notion of unity and devotion to a higher power.

Community Support and Solidarity

  1. Support during Difficult Times: Shaving one's head can be a way of seeking solace and support during challenging situations. Women may choose to shave their heads as an expression of solidarity with family members or friends who are going through a difficult phase in life, such as illness or personal tragedy.

  2. Communal Bonding: The act of shaving heads at temples often takes place during religious festivals or special occasions, bringing communities together. Women receive support and encouragement from their families, friends, and fellow devotees, fostering a sense of unity and shared devotion.

Personal Reflection and Transformation

  1. Emotional Catharsis: Shaving one's head can be a deeply personal and emotional experience. It offers a moment of self-reflection, allowing women to contemplate their inner selves, seek spiritual growth, and experience a profound sense of transformation.

  2. Detoxification and Spiritual Cleansing: Hair is believed to absorb and retain energy. By shaving their heads, women engage in a symbolic act of spiritual cleansing and rejuvenation, letting go of negative energies and starting anew on their spiritual journey.


The tradition of Indian women shaving their heads at temples is a sacred practice deeply rooted in religious and cultural beliefs. It signifies devotion, surrender, and sacrifice while serving as a means of personal transformation and spiritual growth. This ancient tradition not only showcases the depth of faith but also fosters community support, unity, and a sense of equality. By understanding the symbolic and spiritual significance behind this act, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of Indian culture and its profound connection to spirituality.

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