‘Dress appropriately to visit religious places’

November 25, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Panaji, November 25, 2016: Implementing a dress code at the Basilica of Bom Jesus for scantily-clad tourists has run into unforeseen problems, but church authorities have changed tack to ensure sanctity within the holy precincts.

Signposts requesting tourists to be suitably dressed came up three years ago, as parishioners were getting increasingly offended by the skimpy attire.

The 16th century church houses the sacred relics of Spanish saint, St Francis Xavier.

“Our volunteers tell tourists to find proper clothing if they turn up inappropriately dressed,” says Savio Barreto, rector of Basilica of Bom Jesus.

The iconic church was built by the Jesuits and has been managed by priests of the order since then.

Volunteers would offer shawls to tourists to cover themselves up.

“They would visit some beach and then arrive at Old Goa in the same clothing, but this was embarrassing, especially during mass,” a parishioner said.

But several problems surfaced. “The shawls we offered them became dirty after use. Often, they would leave them in the toilet and our volunteers had a hard time retrieving them,” Barreto said.

Often, they disappeared with the shawls. The requirement of providing clean shawls and adequate manpower affected operation of the scheme.

“Now, we don’t offer shawls to them, but ask them to find their own or come back properly dressed,” Barreto said.

Church authorities have been cautious about turning back tourists. “They come from long distances, hence we offered them shawls. We could charge them for use, but it doesn’t appear okay,” a volunteer said.

That more Indian women tourists are scantily dressed than foreign tourists is a reality that has hit church authorities.

“The foreigners are better dressed than some of the domestic tourists,” Barreto said.

More Indian women tourists are scantily dressed than foreign tourists is a reality that has hit church authorities. While, the dress code is being followed in the temple taluka of Ponda, an extension of the religious tour for some tourists, barely 10km away from Old Goa.

The devasthan committee of Shri Shantadurga temple, Kavlem, is also pondering a similar move soon.

“The attire should be below the knees. Imagine, a puja being performed and tourists wearing skimpy clothes entering the place, it is embarrassing for the gathering,” a committee member said.

– times of india

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