The renowned Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum, which is also known for being one of the country's richest shrines, has relaxed its dress code to allow women wearing salwar kameez to enter its precincts. According to an NDTV report, before this change the temple's dress code dictated women to wear "sarees, long skirt or a dhoti while entering the temple."
NDTV reported that an advocate, Riya Raje, filed a petition at the Kerala High Court challenging this age-old tradition. According to the Hindustan Times, Raje pointed out the difficulties that women devotees had to face while entering the temple. Vendors stationed outside the temple would offer dhotis so that the devotees not following the required dress code could drape it over their clothes. But more often than not, these vendors would fleece the devotees and even hand out unwashed dhotis.
She also argued that while many temples do demand that pilgrims be modestly attired, nowhere do they demand a particular kind of dress, according to the Hindustan Times.
NDTV reported that the Kerala High Court also instructed KN Sateesh, the Temple Executive Officer, to decide on the matter. The decision to do away with the age-old dress code was also guided by several mails and the feedback that temple authorities had received.
"The new dress code should be implemented from Wednesday," Riya Raje told NDTV. "It's been a collective effort to challenge this old tradition. I am a devotee and frequent this temple often and I am looking forward to go inside wearing my salwar kameez."
However, temple authorities are divided over the decision. Some feel that the tradition must continue, according to NDTV.