Madras high court has ordered temple authorities in Tamil Nadu to refuse entry to people in jeans, shorts and other garments
Hindu temples in southern India have begun turning away devotees wearing western clothes after a court order banning jeans and shorts as inappropriate for spiritual worship came into effect.
Madras high court ordered temple authorities in Tamil Nadu state last month to refuse entry to anyone wearing jeans, bermuda shorts, skirts, short sleeves or tight leggings to “enhance spiritual ambiance”.
Hundreds of staff members in the coastal state’s 6,000 temples, ranging from small shrines to major religious sites, were on alert on Friday for people flouting the ban, which came into force on 1 January.
“We have enforced the court order from today. A few people were politely turned back for not wearing the prescribed dress,” a superintendent at the Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami temple in Rameswaram district said.
The dress code applies to locals and foreigners visiting the sites, some of which are major tourist attractions. Arulmigu Ramanatha Swami temple receives more than 4 million visitors a year, the official said.
Men are allowed to wear dhoti, a traditional long lower garment, pyjamas with a cloth top or formal shirts and trousers. Women are allowed to wear saris or half saris with a blouse.
“We should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate,” the court said in the order.
Several Hindu temples and other religious sites in India restrict devotees from entering the premises on the pretext of gender, dress or eating habits, with some denying entry to non-vegetarians.
In Mumbai, a women’s rights group is fighting a legal battle to overturn a four-year ban on women entering Haji Ali Dargah, a Muslim shrine, where menstruation was cited as the reason for the restriction.