Foreign tourists visiting temples in Tamil Nadu are draping themselves in saris and dhotis to comply with the new dress code prescribed by the Madras High Court.
At the Kabaleeshwarar temple in Chennai, a group of tourists from France including women were seen draped in dhotis. They went shopping to buy the wrap around outfit to wear over their jeans. Theresa Gerald said, “I love respecting local culture in a foreign country. I like dhoti”.
Teresa Govindaswamy and another woman visitor had bought new saris to cover their T shirt, jeans and kurta – dresses banned entry into temples from January 1 by a court order. “It’s a holy place. They can give us little leeway. But if there’s an option like this why not,” she said.
The Madras High Court’s November order prescribes pyjamas, pants or dhotis with shirts for men and saris, churidar suits with shawls or stoles for women. T-shirts, skirts, leggings, shorts or lungis are not allowed.
K Natarajan, an international tourist guide, said he is worried. “Some overseas tourists are not coming into the temple because they are not comfortable to wear Indian outfits. At least for foreigners they can relax (the norms),” he said.