Temple authorities in the districts of Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Dehradun in Uttarakhand, have implemented a ban on the entry of devotees who are not dressed appropriately. Mahant Ravindra Puri, the secretary of the Mahanirvani Panchayati Akhara and president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, announced the formal ban.
It applies to individuals who are considered “scantily clad” and is effective immediately in the Daksh Prajapati Mandir (Haridwar), Tapkeshwar Mahadev Mandir (Dehradun), and Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir (Rishikesh).
“Only women whose bodies are covered up to 80% can enter these temples”, Mahant Ravindra Puri said. The ban has initially been imposed on the temples affiliated with the Mahanirvani Panchayati Akhara, which comprises the Dashnam Naga seers. The ban will soon be extended to other temples affiliated with the Akhara across the country, he added.
Asked about the necessity to impose the ban, Puri said, “Sometimes people entering the temples are so ‘skimpily dressed’ that one feels ashamed to even look at them.”
A few days back a similar decision was taken in Maharashtra. A “Vastra Samhita” or dress code was introduced in four temples located in Nagpur. The Maharashtra Mandir Mahasangha, an association of temples in Maharashtra, has formulated this dress code guideline for temples across the state.
According to the “Vastra Samhita,” devotees are expected to avoid wearing “objectionable” clothing while visiting these temples.
The decision to introduce the dress code was made during a meeting of the Maharashtra Temple Trust Council in Jalgaon in February. Sunil Ghanwat, the coordinator of the Maharashtra Mandir Mahasangha expressed his intention to request Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to implement the dress code in temples controlled by the government as well.