What to Wear
How we dress and present ourselves is one of the most important considerations. We ask that everyone be neat and well groomed. This includes if you are representing Sri Ram Ashram in Delhi, your stay at the ashram and any trips in the Haridwar/neighboring vicinity where you might be identified as being affiliated with Sri Ram Ashram.
Though our organization does not judge a person by their dress, Indian culture does.If one dresses poorly, it indicates an uneducated low caste person who was never taught to dress or can’t afford to dress properly. When Indians go out, they wear their wealth on their person.If people are well dressed they are more respected.We also want to model appropriate grooming for our children and staff.
December and January are considered cold season. Sri Ram Ashram does not offer heating so please bring warm weather clothing. February and March are pleasant. April through mid September are considered hot season. Mid September through November are pleasant. So depending on when you come, bring appropriate jacket, sweater, vest, long underwear, socks, hat, gloves etc. In the hot season, April – October, men and women must still pay attention to modesty.
A.For Women:Women are requested to wear the Indian Punjabi dress or long tunic tops with loose pants and scarves.They can be bought inexpensively in India. Alternatively, you may wear long skirts, dresses or pants that fit loosely on the body.Scarves are still encouraged, even with western clothing.No shorts or sleeveless tops, even in hot weather.See-through skirts or underwear straps showing are not appropriate. You are welcome to peruse our “left clothes trunk,” borrow from this stash and leave behind any good clothing in washed and ironed condition.
Jeans have become more acceptable over the years and can be appropriate, especially for younger women. Jeans must not be faded or torn and can be worn as everyday ashram attire with appropriate long tops.
B.For Men: The dress for Indian men is much like western dress.All clothing must be neat, clean, and shirts tucked in.If you are comfortable in Indian kurta, pajama or dhoti, that is also acceptable.A nice shirt and tie for special occasions can be useful, but not essential. Men may not go bare-chested. Bring light weight long pants to be comfortable in the heat (April-September). Visiting men are asked not to wear shorts, cutoffs or tank tops.
C.For Children:Children under age 12 can typically dress as they would at home, in simple clean play clothes.They should have something nice for outings or special celebrations. Above age 12, they should respect the gender dress of the culture.
Sandals are very common at the ashram and in neighboring vicinities, especially since in Indian culture, people remove their shoes before entering most homes, shops and temples.Being barefoot is not acceptable of safe.
Haridwar is a long, narrow city stretched along the banks of the Ganga, so it is fairly spread out.It is easy to walk several miles once you are in town.The streets are often dirty, and you may want to have closed walking shoes for town.You will want to have some variety of shoes depending upon the temperatures during the time of your stay.
A pair of rubber flip-flops is nice for bathing as the floors can be cold and not always clean if you are traveling throughout India.
Men and women both wear jewelry. No one will likely try to steal jewelry off your body, but a thief might strike up a conversation and try to get your watch etc.It is best not to bring anything too obviously expensive or ostentatious, though you may frequently see Indians, especially women in gold and diamonds, especially at functions or social occasions. Feel free to also wear yours, but wear in caution.