Foreign women visitors wearing short dresses to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi will now be advised to wear a sari while entering the temple according to an order issued by the temple trust, The Times of India reported.
Though there won't be a dress code, but female visitors, specially foreigners, wearing shorts or dresses the end above the knee, would be advised to wear a sari, an official told TOI. The sari will be available free of cost at the entrance and visitors can either return it or keep it while leaving.
"No foreign woman is going to be stopped from offering prayer inside the sanctum sanctorum nor are we enforcing any dress code. It's a move to motivate foreign women, who reach temple in short western attires, to either avoid such dresses while planning to offer darshan at this temple or offer prayers as per the decorum," a temple official told the newspaper.
Kashi Vishwanath temple's deputy chief executive officer PN Dwivedi told TOI that during the divisional commissioner Nitin Ramesh Gokarn's visit to the temple last week, "some foreign women were found moving inside the temple in very short dresses after which it was discussed to initiate some measure to maintain decency inside the temple."
Dwivedi also told The Indian Express that the decision to issue the order came following demands from domestic pilgrims who found short dresses worn by foreigners as "revealing". "Devotees from South India had been making demand of saree for women and dhoti-kurta for men on the lines of the dress code in Tirupati Balaji temple. It looks awkward when foreign female tourists enter the temple wearing short dresses," Dwivedi told IE.