Dressing Respectfully in India: A Guide to Proper Attire for Travelers - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Dressing Respectfully in India: A Guide to Proper Attire for Travelers

A guide to dressing respectfully in India

Never travel to India unless you learn about dress codes in the country. Respecting the traditional dress code is important no matter which states you travel to.

How to Dress During Holiday in India

Whether your trip to India takes you to Mumbai, Jaipur, Delhi, Goa, or more rural, lesser-known towns or villages, you are in for a treat. India is filled with vibrant colors, great music, rich culture, great climate, adventurous landscapes, and friendly people. More than 10 million tourists from around the world travel to India every year and the Ministry of Tourism Board of India says the number of visitors continues to increase.

When you visit India, respecting people, places, religion, and culture is extremely important. Residents throughout India take pride in their customs, traditions, and beliefs. Outsiders who refuse to respect traditions may experience conflict and unwanted attention.

The dress code in India differs from one region to the next. Before planning your wardrobe, learn more about the specific area you are traveling to and its customary dress codes and traditions. For example, in southern India, it is traditional for men to wear lungis while in the state of Rajasthan, women often wear colorful, flowing skirts and dresses per customs.

Casual dress usually is acceptable throughout India. Most of the younger generation of India dress casually, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Formal occasions, however, require everyone, including teenagers, to adhere to customary dress codes and traditions.

Learn more about dress codes in the state you are headed to before you travel. The more you learn about the region of India you’re traveling, the easier it is to enjoy your time and ensure that you have respected the lands and the people.

West India: In the western region of India, which includes the states of Goa, and Gujarat, colorful and vibrant clothes are traditional wear. Cotton, silk, and other lightweight fabrics are customary for these pieces. Men wear dhoti-kurta or western wear.

East India: In Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, and other eastern states, women traditionally wear the saree while men traditionally wear the dhoti-kurta.

North India: North India includes the states of Punjab, Delhi, and Padesh. Traditionally, women wear a salwar kameez while men wear a dhoti-kurta. Men wear kurta-pajamas and women wear a Punjabi suit In Punjab.

South India: Traditional wear in south India, which includes the states of Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, is a cotton or silk saree. Men typically wear a dhoti with a white shirt.

Keep the following tips and information in mind as you prepare and plan for an unforgettable trip to India.

Respect Customs and Traditions

As mentioned, respecting customs and traditions in an area is extremely important, especially when your holiday is outside the United States. Adhering to dress codes is especially important since it is a way to respect the country, its people, and its culture.

Most people in India dress modestly and aim for comfort. Rural areas and small towns are most likely to allow modest wear, although areas with strong religious ties stick with traditional dress codes. Wherever you go, remember that it is essential to keep your body covered, especially women. Tank tops, shorts, and short skirts are not appropriate.

Weather Considerations

India has a great climate which varies depending on the region. Learn more about the expected weather in the region you are traveling. The time of year you will be traveling impacts the climate.

Summer travel should include cotton, lightweight clothing that keeps you cool and comfortable. Winter can be cold in India, especially in the northern states. Include a few warmer pieces in your suitcase when packing for a holiday in India.

Footwear Traditions

Not only should travelers to India be wary of their clothing, but also their footwear and associated customary traditions.

Before entering a home or a place of worship, remove your shoes. Anyone who does not adhere to this tradition is considered to be disrespectful. Many people wear slip-on shoes and sandals that can easily be removed and put back on.

Always pack a few pairs of shoes when visiting India. Doing so ensures that you are ready for any activity that you might experience. Ensure the shoes chosen for travel to India are comfortable before anything else.

How to Dress for Special Occasions in India

If you are attending a religious ceremony or a special event, dress appropriately. Not adhering to the customary dress code and traditions could shun the entire event.

Women should wear a saree or salwar kameez, both of which are customary clothing pieces. Men can wear a kurta or sherwani, either of which is customary in India.

Comfort First

It cannot be said enough: comfort is most important when packing your suitcase with clothing for travel to India. When you travel to India, you'll quickly realize that the climate can soar to hot temperatures in the summer very fast. It can also be quite humid. When you dress for comfort, you can enjoy all events you have planned without scorching in the process.

Be sure to include a scarf or two to wear around your head. The scarf helps protect your face and head from the sun and possible sunburn.

It is a good idea to shop for new clothing before traveling to India. Arc'teryx has modest pieces for men and women, any of which perfectly suit style in India.

The Bottom Line

We hope these tips and the information above help you plan your trip to India with no stress. You can have an amazing time in this beautiful country if you respect its traditions and dress codes. We certainly aim to help as many people as possible with this bit of information. Your holiday in India is off to an easier start now that you have this valuable information in mind. Dress respectfully by adhering to customs, remember that comfort is important, and do not discount the hot temperatures during the summer and you will enjoy your trip to India so much more.

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