Be Aware of what you Wear – 13 Aug 10


I started talking about Indian and western clothing yesterday and mentioned that people often advise women who travel to India to take clothes that cover legs and shoulders as they would otherwise attract a lot of attention. Sometimes we have visitors here at the Ashram who have not heard this advice before or who heard it and are curious about it. This is how we are sometimes asked if that is true.

It is surely true that if you show much skin, you attract attention. You will have more eyes looking at you and with more intensity. You might as well call it staring and that often not only by men, also Indian women are quite interested to look what western women are doing. It is true though that showing legs are considered one of the sexiest things in Indian society.

If you do not like the staring, I would say cover yourself up. I know some people also enjoy the extra attention, which is also fine, as long as you know where you are, if it is a dangerous area or not, if you are out in the night or during day and if you just take a little bit care not to overdo it. You might not be able to go everywhere though because there are places, especially temples and Ashrams that do not allow you to enter if you are not properly dressed.

In this point I often believe there are too many rules. Some places even require women to cover their head and arms, too. I do not appreciate this kind of ruling. What is wrong in a woman’s hair, arms or skin? Excess of anything is not nice.

Our Ashram is very free in this way and I like to keep it like this. I do not want to put any rule as to what you have to wear here. I trust that you use your common sense and wear something that makes you and those in your surrounding feel comfortable. You do not need to care that much if you are visitor at the Ashram. You are welcome and invited to feel like home, a member of the family.

Today we enjoyed showering in the monsoon rain which came surprisingly in the afternoon.

8 Replies to “Be Aware of what you Wear – 13 Aug 10”

  1. I remember my time at your ashram with pleasure and I was very honoured to be befriended by your late sister too. I can’t remember what I wore every day but it was probably a shalwar kameez that I had bought in India because it was cheap and comfy. I certainly didn’t feel I had to cover head and arms 🙂 please send my warmest wishes to all your family.

  2. What a wonderful photo. I remember the comfort and freedom I felt while visiting your Ashram. The wisdom and kindness of everyone’s lack of judgment allowed me to be myself and so I felt comfortable exploring and learning about myself. What a healthy time for me. You are all dear in my heart and I wish you all well. I’m sure you are!

  3. The way I see it, you can do anything you want, it’s up to you- which consequences for your actions can you handle? Can you handle being followed and stared at and harassed and having people grab you and take your picture? if so- please wear shorts in India. If you can’t handle it- wear pants! it is up to you.

  4. Before I came to India I knew that showing legs was considered to be sexy and such but had not heard about shoulders, I learned that while I was here, and having just come from Thailand where skin is showing and there are so many tourists the rules of that nature are forgotten, the first couple days I walked afpround with my legs covered but not my shoulders! Now however I have learned and will wear more appropriate clothing!