“It is a very good move by the HR & CE and it promotes our culture more,” said one of the devotee.

A dress code in temples that almost everyone seems to be welcomingImage: Nishanth Krish
news Saturday, January 02, 2016 - 18:33

The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department’s (HR & CE) move to initiate dress codes for the devotees who visit temple from January 1, 2016 has been welcomed by the devotees and most called it "good for our culture."

“It is a very good move by the HR & CE and it promotes our culture more,” said Sarla, a house-wife who was at the Vinayagar Temple in Thiruvanmiyur.

“The main reason we come to temples is to worship God so wearing a covered dress is always better,” said Muthu, Assistant Engineer at the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB).

At the Marundeeswarar Koil temple in Thiruvanmiyur, most of the people were seen wearing clothes according to the dress codes, women were wearing sarees and churidars or “fully covered dresses” as prescribed by HR & CE. Men were seen wearing formal clothes and dhotis.

 Notices were put up in bold letters outside Marundeeswarar Koil temple for the devotees to take note of it. But no one was stopped from entering the temple for not adhering to the dress code.  Kannama who was wearing leggings said, “I am wearing clothes which are not allowed in the temple but no one stopped me from entering the temple." She however had no disagreements with the dress code.

Sugandi, a house-wife said that there were many places one could wear jeans and western clothes and so a dress code for temples was acceptable.

“I have seen so many girls wearing jeans and short tops to a temple which attracts attention towards them which is not right.”

She added it was earlier only followed in Tirupathi temple and now extending it to other temples also is a correct thing.

Suchindra, another house-wife who was doing a pooja at the temple said, “It is a sacred place, so what is wrong in asking people to follow a dress code? I completely support such a move.”

At  the Kapaleeshwar temple too, though many followed the dress code, those who came otherwise were never stopped.

Image: Nishanth Krish

The rule in question is governed by the Tamil Nadu Temple Entry Authorisation Act, 1947. It 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.”

In a circular, HR & CE department had also referred to a ruling by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on dress codes. The court had said that the government can consider the dress code from January 1 and men should wear a “dhoti or pyjama with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts” to temples and women should wear “a sari or a half sari or churidhar with upper cloth.” Children could wear “any fully covered dress”, as reported in The Hindu.

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