Dress code guidelines enforced to enter 71 temples in Pune District

(From left) Mr Sunil Ghanwat, Mr Nandkumar Angal,
Mrs Sangita (Tai) Thakar

Pune – In a move aimed at upholding the sanctity of temples and promoting Indian cultural values, a dress code will be enforced in 71 temples, including the sacred Jyotirlinga Shrikshetra Bhimashankar, in Pune District. This decision extends to approximately 528 temples across Maharashtra, as disclosed by Mr Sunil Ghanwat (Coordinator of the ‘Maharashtra Mandir Mahasangh) during a press conference held at ‘Shramik Patrakar Bhawan,’ Ganjve Chowk, Pune.

The event saw the participation of several distinguished people, including Mr Parag Gokhale (Pune District Coordinator of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti), Chorghe Maharaj (Pune District Convener of the ‘Maharashtra Mandir Mahasangh’), Mrs Sangita (Tai) Thakar (Trustee of Gramdaivat Shri Kasba Ganapati Mandir), Advocate Mangesh Jejurikar (Trustee of Karhe Pathar Khandoba Mandir Devasthan) among others.

Mr Sunil Ghanwat highlighted that the implementation of the dress code, akin to that in Pune, has been successfully carried out in various Districts across Maharashtra, including Nagpur, Amravati, Jalgaon, Ahilyanagar, Mumbai, Thane, Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Solapur, and Kolhapur. He praised the proactive efforts of temple trustees, who have willingly adopted the dress code not only in Maharashtra but also in several other States as well as in temples abroad.

Mr Sunil Ghanwat noted that even the secular Government had embraced the dress code initiative, implementing it in all Government offices across the State in 2020. He emphasized that adherence to dress codes is prevalent in various places of worship, private establishments, educational institutions, Courts, Police stations, etc. Echoing these sentiments, Mr Sunil Ghanwat emphasized the significance of preserving the sanctity, decorum, and cultural ethos of Hindu temples.

He reiterated the purpose of the Maharashtra Mandir Mahasangh, which was established within the Maharashtra Mandir Nyas Parishad on 5th February 2023, and highlighted its expanding influence across Maharashtra. Despite resistance from certain quarters, particularly regarding misconceptions about Indian culture, he said that temples hold a special religious significance where conduct according to Dharma (Righteousness) takes precedence over individual freedom. He affirmed that the decision to enforce the dress code was carefully considered by temple authorities to uphold the sanctity of temples and preserve cultural traditions.

Many renowned temples in India, such as the Shri Mahakaleshwar Mandir in Ujjain, Shri Grishneshwar Mandir in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Mandir in Varanasi, Shri Tirupati Balaji Mandir in Andhra Pradesh, and the illustrious Shri Padmanabhaswamy Mandir in Kerala, along with the Shri Mata Mandir in Kanyakumari, have long adhered to a sattvik dress code for devotees. This practice extends beyond Hinduism, with places of worship in other religions also implementing similar dress codes.

Furthermore, the Maharashtra Government has enforced regulations prohibiting Government officials and employees from wearing jeans, T-shirts, bright colour or embroidered attire, and open-toed footwear. Similarly, the Madras High Court mandated a dress code in the State from 1st January 2016, recognizing the significance of sattvik attire for temple entry.

Temples hold a special religious significance where conduct according to Dharma takes precedence over individual freedom !