In a few weeks, devotees across the state of Karnataka will have to change their dressing style if they want to enter temples in the state.
The Karnataka Rajya Dharmika Parishat has decided to implement a dress code across temples under the endowment department of the state government, reports Vinobha KT for The Times of India.
According to the report, the Parishat, which is a quasi-judicial body formed by the government under the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Amended Act 2011, is mooting to implement a dress code, in order to "preserve the sanctity of temples."
There are at least 34,000 temples that come under the endowment department across the state.
The new dress code, when implemented, will prevent men from entering temples dressed in jeans, shorts, half-pants and T-shirts, and will make it mandatory for women to wear saree or salwar kameez as dress code.
Speaking to TOI, Parishat member Padmanabha Kotian said that it has become "trendy for the young generation to visit temples wearing revealing clothes."
"This leads to distraction in devotees' minds. Many temples in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have their own dress code and they don't allow devotees to enter shrines wearing revealing clothes," he was quoted as saying.
While the idea to bring in a dress code was introduced in the previous Parishat meeting, the proposal will be discussed in a meeting to be held on October 3. Once the proposal is discussed, a resolution will be passed and the directives will be conveyed to all district commissioners.
Dress codes not new to other states
Justifying its decision to bring in a dress code in temples, the Parishat has argued that its neighbouring states including Kerala, has long ago implemented similar dress codes.
Although dress codes in temples is not uniform across temples in the state, the issue at the famous Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayoor and Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, is one that generated much discussion.
For a long time, women were allowed entry to the temple, only if they wore a saree. However, in 2007, the temple administration relaxed the strict dress code and allowed women devotees to enter the temple wearing salwar kameez.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in the capital city follows a strict dress code, especially for women.
In November last year, the temple Executive Officer had relaxed the dress code for women and allowed women to enter the temple wearing salwar kameez.
However, this decision was met with severe criticism and resistance from Hindu groups, following which, the order was stayed by a district judge.