What dress to wear in Indian Hindu temples - New dress code for temples in Tamil Nadu

A new dress code is coming in to effect from January 1, 2016 to enter the Hindu temples in Tamil Nadu state of India. Read further to learn more about the dress code in Hindu temples in India.

Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR & CE) department has issued a notice to the temples under its control to strictly enforce a dress code for entering the temples in Tamil Nadu. Other temples that do not fall under the government control should come up and enforce their own dress code. Also, the temples across the states in India have its own rules and policies regarding the dress code.

A general practice in majority of the temples in India is to discourage use of any sort of western dress, including shorts, t-shirts and other dress that expose the legs. Some temples don't even allow jeans and many other temples demand men remove the shirts while entering the temple and women wear the traditional Indian Saree. There is no standard dress code across the temples in the country.

HR & CE notice has cited the order of Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court pertaining to dress code for men and women. The dress code suggested by the high court is nothing new but has been traditionally followed in most of the temples in the state. However, in recent times, many temples have been flexible in allowing modern dress like jeans, leggings, t-shirts etc. With the dress code that comes into effect from Jan 1, 2016, only traditional dress will be allowed in the temples in Tamil Nadu, subject to local customs and traditions in various temples.

Dress code in Temples

Dress TypeAllowed/Not allowed
JeansNot allowed
ShortsNot allowed
LeggingsNot allowed
SkirtsNot allowed
T-shirts/sleeveless topsNot allowed
LungisNot allowed
Formal pantsAllowed in most temples
Half SareesAllowed
ChuridarAllowed (not allowed in some temples)
ShirtsAllowed for men in some temples and not allowed in many other temples

Dress code for men in Tamil Nadu temples

High court order suggests that men should wear a "dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts" to temples. Temples that do not allow upper cloth for men may continue to follow that custom. Some temples may not allow leather belts and purses. Footwear is not allowed inside the temples. Jeans, shorts and lungis are prohibited.

Dress code for women in temples in Tamil Nadu

According to the court order, women should wear "a sari or a half sari or churidhar with upper cloth." Footwear is not allowed inside the temples for women. Jeans, leggings and other inappropriate clothes are also not allowed.

Dress code for children

The high court doesn't prescribe any specific dress code for children. Children may wear any fully covered dress. Footwear is not allowed for children as well. Individual temples may have their own rules for children.

Exceptions and special customs

Even though the high court order has suggested a specific dress code, the HR & CE department has suggested the temples under its control to enforce dress code according to the traditions, culture and local customs, in alignment with the directions from the high court.

According to the court order, temples where men were prohibited from wearing an upper cloth could continue the practice.

Some temples do not allow leather belts and leather purses. HR & CE department has not made a decision on such cases. HR & CE department has not introduced any new rules, but has directed the temples to strictly enforce their traditional dress code and customs.

The essence of both the court order and HR & CE directions is to enforce a dress code in the temples but allow the temples to choose any appropriate dress code according to the traditions, culture and local customs.

The Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947, which controls entry to the temples in the state, states: "No person shall enter into temple premises unless he has had a bath and wears clothes of such materials and in such manner as is customary in such temple. No person shall enter a temple with any footwear."

How the dress code will affect the tourists

Some famous temples in Tamil Nadu get a lot of foreign visitors and some of the temples were flexible on allowing modern dress including jeans, leggings, shorts etc. With the new order from the high court and directions from HR & CE department, tourists may not be able to visit any of the temples in Tamil Nadu in the dress of their choice.

If you are a traveller and planning to visit the temples in Tamil Nadu, be sure to carry some traditional dress like dhoti, saree, pyjama, churidar etc to avoid unnecessary hassles.

Reference: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-prescribes-dress-code-at-temples/article7938275.ece


Author: MR KRISHAJIT BARUAH30 Dec 2015 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 2

Many temples in Tamilnadu have their own rules. It is a good idea to have a uniform dress code in all temples. People are coming to the temple to pray and not to show their dress. I strongly support the court order to enforce uniform dress code in the temples.

Author: Manjunath Bhat26 Mar 2016 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 3

Temples are holy palaces and not just some tourist attractions. Due the many reasons they even attract tourists and some of these come only to see the place and not for worshiping. Some people have the tendency of questioning of everything including the dress code. This is a welcome decision of the Honorable High Court. The legal sanctity behind the code will make it easier to enforce. Further it helps in preserving the customs and traditions.

Author: mytravelshanti21 Oct 2016 Member Level: Bronze   Points : 0

Great Idea share with me for Tamil Nadu's Temple.

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