PANJIM: After temples in Goa, it's now the turn of a church to focus on scantily clad tourists. The 16th century Basilica of Bom Jesus will provide shawls to "indecently" dressed visitors when the tourist season begins in a couple of months.
Fr Savio Barretto, the rector of the 16th century Basilica located in Old Goa, 10 km from here, said a special panel would be appointed to keep tabs on tourists coming in to take a look at the Unesco-recognised World Heritage Site.  "The panel of specially appointed officials will screen them and provide shawls if the clothing is inappropriate. The shawls of course are to be returned after the visit," Barretto told us.  "The dress code is not just for tourists, but for everyone who comes here, including pilgrims," he said.
Barretto said the dress code would apply from September. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is part of several churches, including the Se Cathedral, both located in the former Portuguese city of Goa, today called Old Goa. Thousands of tourists flock to these churches everyday, as part of guided tours that often include trips to the local beaches in the vicinity.
Last month, the 450-year-old Mahalsa Narayani temple in Ponda, 30 km from here, had banned the entry of foreigners after they were found 'inappropriately dressed' or even kissing inside the temple.
Another popular temple at Mangueshi, near Ponda, has also imposed dress restrictions on people visiting the temple premises for 'propriety' reasons.
In fact, a rightwing organisation, GMDSM Tuesday said the ban on improperly dressed tourists should apply to all temples.  "The action taken to maintain the holiness of the temple is ideal for all temples," said Jayesh Thali, convenor of the Mahasangh.
"Tourists enter the temple in very short dresses and their behaviour too is objectionable. They enter the temple wearing garlands around their neck and then the same garland is offered to the deity," Thali told us.  "This amounts to dishonour of dharma Temples are not meant for tourists, they are meant for devotees of the deity. It is ideal to have some restrictions on the tourists to maintain the sanctity of the temple," he said.  - SR


Gobor said...

And they should also provide shawls for the low and short dresses worn by goan models at Sunday mass.

Navelkar said...

Xabbas Fr. Barretto ekdom bori evzonn tumchi rakonn dovrunk nhuim fokot moriad punn rakunk man (respect) ani mansugi.  Ani zo khonn hem Shawl galun apli ordi ugtti kudd lipounk sodina tosleank Bom Jezuche ani dusre imarotint bhitor soronk porgangi diuchi nhuim. 

Joaquim Correia Afonso said...

I was shocked to read the statement of the superintending archaeologist of ASI. Goa, that the Church will have to seek permission of the Director General of ASI, New Delhi, to introduce a dress code and ban photography inside the Basilica of Bom Jesus. It should be the prerogative of the Church to decide on these matters inside its places of religious worship. The decision of the Church should be communicated to the ASI. The decision of the Church in respect of places of worship should be final, without interference from government authorities. MAINTENANCE of such heritage places (or monuments) should vest on ASI.

If at all the law says that the D.G., ASI, is the final authority, then isn't it high time for Government of India to change the rules suitably?

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