Following a demand by Ranaragini — a woman-only Hindutva group formed in April — the renowned Shree Mangaladevi temple in this coastal city of Karnataka has made a move to put in place a ‘dress code’ for temple visitors.
Though the temple authorities say it is not compulsory, the ‘A’ grade temple under the Endowment Department has displayed a notice on its premises asking devotees to follow a ‘dress code’, but without defining it.
P. Ramanath Hegde, managing trustee of the temple management committee, told The Hindu that there was no compulsion for devotees to wear a certain dress, but the temple expected them to cover themselves fully. “However, if anybody comes in a short dress, he or she will not be sent out,” he said, adding that the purpose of displaying the board was to make devotees follow the code “voluntarily”.
Ranaragini presented a memorandum to the temple management committee on June 10 and the temple displayed the board at the entrance on July 8.
Bhavani Prabhu of Ranaragini said the outfit had launched a movement to implement a dress code in temples to maintain “sanctity.” A similar memorandum had been submitted to Kavoor Mahalingeshwara temple, which was yet to display a board.
The group had plans to submit the memorandum to Sharavu Mahaganapathi temple in the city, she said.
“We explain the benefits of implementing a dress code and leave it to the temple to take a call,” she said.
G. Hanumantha Kamath, social activist and president of Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti, Mangaluru, said the temple had given scope for “unnecessary exchange of words between the temple staff and devotees”.
Now the board had created confusion among devotees. “Let them clearly state what the dress code is. Otherwise, the board should be removed,” he said.