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Ancient Kerala temple relaxes dress code for women

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Thiruvananthapuram : The centuries-old Padmanabha Swamy temple, the richest Hindu temple in the world, on Tuesday, decided to relax its dress code for women, permitting devotees to wear the traditional Indian salwar kameez and churidar while worshipping at the shrine but the temple’s senior Tantri (priest) has voiced opposition to the decision.

 Earlier, women devotees had to wear a ‘mundu’ (dhoti) over their waist if they were attired in salwars and churidars before entering the famous shrine.  “A decision was taken today (Tuesday) to allow women to wear salwar kameez and churidars..from this evening itself, devotees can offer worship wearing salwars and churidars,” Temple Executive officer K N Sateesh told PTI.

The Kerala High Court had recently disposed of a petition seeking permission to allow women to wear salwars and churidars inside the temple after directing the Executive officer to decide within 30 days on the matter.


Sateesh said he had received mails and mass petitions from devotees, especially women, seeking a direction to temple authorities to permit wearing of salwar kameez and churidars inside the shrine.

Devotees from all over the country visit the shrine throughout the year and had wanted a change in the dress code. “Keralites have also wanted this saying it was more convenient..there is no justification for wearing a mundu on top of the salwars or churidars. It is a mockery,” he said.

 Sateesh said he had received several letters from IAS officers, scientists, doctors and from ordinary persons also seeking permission to be allowed to wear churidars as it was a ‘decent and dignified dress’.

 Salwar kameez and churidars were being allowed as it was traditional Indian attire, he said, adding, however, jeans, tights and such other dresses will not be permitted.

Meanwhile, the temple’s senior Tantri (priest) Nedumpilli Tharanalloor Parameshwaran Namboodiripad has voiced opposition to allowing women to wear salwar and churidar, saying it was against customs and age old traditions of the shrine.

The present dress code should continue, he informed the Administrative Committee and Executive officer, temple sources said. The Administrative Committee has also said that the present dress code should be continued.

“Such a decision has been taken after obtaining the written opinion of Tantri and also after gathering the opinion of other stake holders like the Trustee, ‘Ettara Yogam functionaries’ and a cross section of the devotees,” the committee said. –PTI