It is not a dress code, but a request to preserve sanctity of the place of worship: church official

The management of Goa's Basilica of Bom Jesus — the ancient Church at Old Goa in north Goa which contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier — has decided to install signboards requesting visitors and tourists to wear decent clothes on the church premises.

Father Savio Barretto, Rector of Basilica, confirmed to The Hindu the decision of the church management on Saturday. He said they held a meeting with officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Friday in this regard. This is a heritage zone.

He stressed that while signboards would request decent clothes as it was a place of worship, it was not an attempt to impose a “dress code.”

Fr. Barretto said parishioners had objected to the “inappropriately” dressed tourists, especially when they came for mass. Some suggestions were received that such tourists and visitors should not be allowed to visit the church as they marred the sanctity of the place of worship.

“We will be very careful to use proper words on the signboards so that nobody is hurt but at the same time the message is taken,” he said.

At present, the church has a few staffers who would check whether tourists are properly dressed.

Around a year ago, managements of Goa's two prominent temples, Shree Manguesh temple at Mangueshi and Mahalsa Narayani Temple at Mardol in Central Goa had objected to inappropriate dresses by tourists which “spoilt the sanctity of the place of worship” and prescribed proper dress for participating in any rituals inside the temples following complaints from fellow worshippers and their “mahajans.”