For nearly four centuries, women and Dalits had been barred from the temple situated in Garhwal's Jaunsar Bawar region. But now the temple's management has announced that everyone will be welcome to pray.

Jawahar Singh Chauhan, chairman of the temple's committee told the Times of India that it is "a bid to move with the times", and that women and people of lower caste can no longer be excluded from the temple in the name of 'tradition'.

A Parshuram Temple in Uttarkashi. Source: myyatradiary.com

But Dalit activists say that this is only the first win in a 13-year-long battle and that the greater war has yet to be won. Dalit leader Daulat Kunwar said, "We welcome the move but there are 339 other temples in the region which also need to give their approval for the entry of Dalits."

Another progressive move by the temple committee has been its announcement to ban animal slaughter of any kind, a drastic change for the temple which is known for its animal sacrifices