Kashi Vishwanath temple
Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi.Creative Commons/Ramón

Female foreigners visiting the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi in short clothes or dresses will now be asked to drape sarees over their attire before they are allowed to enter the temple. 

The dress code was reportedly put in place for foreigners after complaints by other devotees. 

However, the temple authorities also claimed that the move will help promote the Indian culture among foreigners. 

"They will go back to their respective countries and tell about Indian attire and culture," the temple's additional chief executive officer PN Dwivedi told The Indian Express.

According to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple CEO, most complaints about foreign women's attire came from devotees coming from South India. 

"Devotees from South India had been making demand of saree for women and dhoti-kurta for men on the lines of the dress code in Tirupati Balaji temple. It looks awkward when foreign female tourists enter the temple wearing short dresses," Dwivedi told the newspaper

Foreign women found to be wearing short clothes will be directed to the ticket booking counter where they will be given sarees to drape around themselves. 

Changing rooms have been set up for the purpose. 

However, some temple officials told The Times of India that the women will only be advised to wear sarees and that it was not a strict dress code. 

"No foreign woman is going to be stopped from offering prayer inside sanctum sanctorum nor are we enforcing any dress code. It's a move to motivate foreign women, who reach temple in short western attires, to either avoid such dresses while planning to offer darshan at this temple or offer prayer as per the decorum," an official was quoted saying.