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Kashi Vishwanath temple trust to discuss dress code proposal

Varanasi (UP): The Kashi Vishwanath temple trust will deliberate on a proposal for a dress code for pilgrims at its next meeting, its chairman Nagendra Pandey said on Saturday.

He noted that it was a “complicated issue” and they need to bear in mind the sentiments of various sections and the “practicality” of implementing the proposal.

Pandey said the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Nyas will study how dress codes have been enforced in other temples in the country.

“There has been a demand from local people, devotees and also from members of the media that there should be a dress code in the Kashi Vishwanath temple and this issue will come up for discussion during the meeting of the Nyas likely to be held in November,” Nyas chairman Nagendra Pandey told PTI.

A proposal requiring men to wear dhoti-kurta and women to be dressed in saree during ‘darshan’ in the sanctum sanctorum will be deliberated upon during the meeting, Pandey said.

“In the recent past, there has been a heavy flow of pilgrims… and a demand has started emerging that a dress code like those in other prominent temples of the country be imposed here, but we have to think about the practicality of the matter as well,” he said.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Piyush Tiwari, said there is no dress code applicable at present for the visitors in Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

According to officials, the construction of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi has contributed to the growth in tourism in the temple town.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 13, 2021 inaugurated the first phase of the corridor christened Kashi Vishwanath Dham, a project spread over 500,000 square feet that connects the temple premises to the Ganga river.

Modi, in his Mann Ki Baat address in July, had said the recent jump in the number of tourists in Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, reflects a “cultural reawakening”.

As many as 7.16 crore people visited the temple in 2022 and 2.29 crore in 2023 (January-May), he said, adding the number of visitors to the holy shrine has grown manifold since the construction of the corridor.

Pandey said, “Those who have been to Tirupati temple as well as Meenakshi and Ujjain temples, they come here and discuss it (need for dress code). This matter is coming to us from different areas and we will see what decision we (temple trust) can take unanimously.”

“We will also study how it is being enforced in other temples of the country. We have to see that those visiting are decently dressed,” he said.

“People come from far-off places with complete devotion and queue up for darshan. They cannot be stopped, harming their religious sentiments, or forced to buy new clothes and arrange changing rooms.”

“This is a very complicated issue and is not an easy one,” he stressed.

Stressing that there has been no prohibition on what to wear in the temple till now, he said it has to be seen what and how this issue has to be addressed, keeping in mind the problems that it might pose.

“As of now, there is no problem with those coming from villages and other areas. Only a few having modern leanings coming from metropolitan cities can be those whose way of dressing could be of some problem.”

“We expect from the people that they come properly and decently attired, be it from the country or abroad. As of now there is no dress code enforced on those coming here,” he said.

(Published 28 October 2023, 13:48 IST)

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