Thazhathangady Juma Masjid, in the state of Kerala, India.
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April 25, 2016 12:40 PM EDT

A 1,000-year-old mosque in Kerala, India opened to Muslim women for the first time on Sunday.

The Thazhathangady Juma mosque is known for its architecture and wooden carvings, the Times of India reports, but only men can worship there and women have never been allowed to look inside. The president of the mosque said a committee decided to open the mosque to women for visitation, but not prayer, on Sunday and for a second time on May 8. Men will not be allowed in the mosque while women are present.

“This is a 1000-year-old mosque. Our women had not seen it so far and had a great desire to visit the holy place. So the mosque committee decided to allow women to visit it,” said the mosque committee’s president. Thousands of women traveled to the city of Kottayam to enter the mosque wearing traditional clothing on Sunday.

[Times of India]

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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