Bengaluru: Sri Rajarajeshwari Temple in RR Nagar has a dress code for devotees — jeans, mini-skirts and sleeveless tops are off-limits.
The temple authorities have suggested that men wear dhoti or pants while women wear saris or churidar with dupatta. A notice board spelling out the dress code can be seen at the entrance. “Modern outfits like bermudas, shirts, mini-skirts, middies, sleeveless tops, low-waist jeans and short length T-shirts are not permitted inside the temple,” reads the notice, specifying that devotees should be clad in traditional dresses when entering the premises for darshan.
Temple staffers said the notice, which was put up a couple of months ago, says men should wear dhoti/pants and shirt with or without angvastram (shalya) around their waist. Mandating sari or churidar for women and grown-up girls, it says: “Young girls below 18 years may wear full-length gowns.
That’s not all. Women aren’t even allowed to leave their hair open. The notice mandates that they tie it with clips or rubber bands. Hayagreeva Achar, member of the temple trust, confirmed that the dress code isn’t new and has been followed for a couple of years. “Of late, we have been noticing that many youngsters visit the temple in shorts. We advise women not to wear jeans or shorts here. We have to follow our culture,” he told TOI.
However, no devotee has been denied entry so far, said Achar. “We advise people to follow the dress code. We don’t bar them from entering the premises,” said another temple staffer.
Dhanajaya Padmanabhachar, a techie from JP Nagar, however, says the move is unnecessary. “We live in age where women have equal rights as men. In god’s eyes, all human beings are the same. How does it matter if a woman is wearing jeans or sari, or a man is dressed in dhoti or shorts? All that matters is devotion,” reasoned Dhananjaya. He said a temple near JP Nagar doesn’t let people in shorts go near the sanctum sanctorum. “Such practices are common in many temples of Dakshina Kannada,” he added.
But many temple-goers back the move. “A temple is a place of worship. Why can’t people wear what is mandated rather than being criticised by others. Dress code is followed in other religions too. What’s wrong if a temple does it? It is an unwritten rule followed in many mutts. Even some colleges have a dress code,” said Nethra Kashyap, a resident of JP Nagar.