Are there any specific teachings related to how Hindus should dress in the public? In Islam, for instance, it has been outlined that women must wear a hijab or nikab. Islam has very clear instructions when it comes to clothing. Do Hindus have clear instructions on how, what, when or what not to wear based on special or non-special events?

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    I see that @Afzaal Ahmad Zeeshan's questions are getting down voted. I don't think they are bad questions considering he seems to come from a different religious background. We should be able to answer his questions unless they don't make sense at all.
    – Bharat
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 2:29
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    @Afzaal Ahmad Zeeshan, I am answering your question here as I don't have any sources to site for an actual answer. No Hinduism does not try to control every aspect of human life and try to bring everyone under 1 law. Enforcing a dress code would do this. Hinduism provides a lots of choices and freedom to choose.
    – Bharat
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 2:33
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    @RBK Hinduism is liberal but it has clear guidelines on the do's and don't. Please see smriti granth and shruti granth. Your comment is opinionated. Manu smruti is clearly a text of ethical codes describing the do's and dont's.
    – Kapil Vyas
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 5:17
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    @Kapil Vyas, Smriti are set of guidelines only which are suitable for the age in which it was written, unlike shruti which are supposed to be eternal. Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 5:24
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    @KapilVyas who cares about manuscript ... afaiu sanatan dharma we should do what is correct now Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


I will try to answer your question. It is a valid but difficult one and I do not see any valid research that I can cite.

Due to the fact that Hinduism is probably the oldest "Religion", it was not developed by a single teacher or preacher. It originated from ancient India's way of living. Various unknown "Teachers" have contributed to this.

Do's and Don'ts never existed before its development and it was a free run in the social setup. The development of Do's and Don'ts started posing restrictions in the life of men & women mainly to avoid any intentional or unintentional 'hurt' to others. These rules and regulations categorized people through development of caste system (largely based on their profession) and hence form a society. This was a part of social fabric development that was later named as Hinduism. This process has been well described in the book the 'Discovery of India' by Jawaharlal Nehru.

The caste system imposed do's and don'ts according to the profession taken up by people. The attire they wore was based on the requirements of living to cover up themselves and their profession. If you see in ancient depictions and texts a lot of importance was attached to jewellery along with the clothes which was an integral part of clothing. In most cases the clothes remained as single woven piece of cloth (Dhoti or Sari) to cover the bottom half. An additional piece for women to cover the top half or wrap the same piece to cover the top too. The kings and the warriors (Rajputs) wore jewellery, weapons and other protection equipment as part of their clothing attire.

As far I know there is no clear definition or restriction on clothing in Christianity too. I am not sure how much my reply answers your question but I would strongly recommend you to read the book mentioned above for a deeper insight or watch an old series 'Bharat Ek Khoj' telecast on doordarshan earlier and now available on the youtube for a good understanding.

  • Fortunately it does and removes the ambiguity in my mind. :) Thanks for the detailed and logical answer! :) Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 10:05
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    @AfzaalAhmadZeeshan, don't accept the first answer being posted. Wait for a few week before accepting the best answer. Let others contribute as well. By accepting the only answer, you are basically discouraging others to answer. Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 13:06
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    @VineetMenon Although I completely agree with you at such a nascent stage within this site, but while trying to generate good content let us not try to prevent people from accepting answers that they deem fit. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 16:01
  • oh! I wasn't asking him not to accept your answer, rather just to wait for a few days before accepting something. OP had shown a behaviour of accepting the first answer anyone writes, not in this question alone. My comment was a general observation, not linked to this post. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 17:51
  • @VineetMenon Haha, I understand now, although this wasn't a question asked by me. Nonetheless it deserves being accepted now, but unfortunately the OP has chosen not to do so. And this is why I generally say that if it's useful, accept it! Commented Jul 16, 2014 at 9:24

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