Dress Code for a Tourist in India

by Kimberly Dyke

Exotic India has been a draw for visitors for centuries. From its religious and cultural heritage to its ever-changing landscape, vibrant India has something to offer each person who enters its borders. Show respect for the country's traditions and its people by dressing in an appropriate manner. Packing light might even grant you the excuse to purchase local items upon arrival and dress like the natives.

Clothing for Men

The dress code in India for a man is somewhat simpler than that for a woman. Men can choose loosely fitting cotton shirts and pants and even get away with wearing shorts in major cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. Always be fully covered when entering a place of worship to show respect. Do not wear leather clothing to avoid offending Hindu followers, though leather shoes are generally acceptable. For the often frigid winter season from October to February, wear warm, woolen clothing and dress in layers.

Women's Tops

Although India is very hot in the summer and during monsoon season, women should avoid wearing sleeveless tops and tank tops, as well as any tightly fitting shirt. Revealing your arms or sporting a low-cut top will almost certainly draw the unwanted and uncomfortable attention of local Indian men. Loose cotton tops and T-shirts are always appropriate when touring India.

Women's Bottoms

Women should also avoid revealing too much of their legs when visiting India. Wear skirts that come past the knee at the very least, and all the way to your ankle if possible. Loose-fitting pants are also appropriate, as long as they do not get clingy when you get hot and sweaty in the Indian heat. Never wear shorts. Try adding a few inexpensive, custom-made salwar kameez outfits to your wardrobe from the local market to blend in better.

Addtional Tips

India is not the place to show off those curves you have earned on the treadmill back home. Tight and revealing clothing tends to draw catcalls and stares, while modest clothing will bring you courtesy and respect. Drape a scarf over your clothing and then use it later to cover your head whenever entering a Sihk temple. Try to wear slip-on sandals when you visit the ancient temples in India, since you can remove them easily. Always wear a bra to remain modest and wear sunglasses outdoors to avoid direct eye contact with men.

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

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