What to Wear in Temples, Churches and Religious Sites of the World


If you’re struggling with what to wear in temples, we’ve got you covered.

Religion plays an integral part in the national history and society of many countries, and you will no doubt visit a temple or mosque on your travels.

But many mosques and churches have strict rules on dress code, which apply especially to female travelers.

It’s important to follow a few simple rules: keep it covered up, and dress appropriately before visiting. Here are some simple tips on how to dress and what to wear when visiting the temples, mosques, churches, and religious sites of the world.

What to Wear in a Buddhist Temple

  • Pants or shots past the knee, shirts with sleeves, no midriff.

Wear pants that cover your legs and at least a short sleeved shirt, and remember, leave the baseball caps at home.

Shorts and sleeveless tops are no-nos in a buddhist temple.

Many worshippers and monks are lenient towards tourists who dress for the heat and humidity of Asia, but shorts and sleeveless tops are considered inappropriate for visiting a Buddhist temple and you may find a stern monk showing you the exit.

What to Wear in Catholic and Christian Churches

Whilst many Western Catholic or Christian churches enforce fairly lenient rules on dress code, they can be stricter in some European countries.

Make sure your skirt or dress comes to at least the knees while visiting a temple, and that your shoulders and chest are also covered.

It amazed me how many people were turned away from the Vatican because they wore strapless tops or miniskirts, despite waiting hours in the queue. Don’t let this be you!

It is also handy to bring a pashmina or scarf in your bag. Some Christian places of worship will require women to cover their hair. This is certainly the case in Russian Orthodox churches for example.

What to Wear in Synagogues

The dress code for synagogues can vary greatly; some might be conservative and formal, others may be relaxed. Most synagogues operate on a smart casual dress code, and women generally wear knee or ankle length skirts. Shirts should cover the shoulders or a cardigan, and smart close-toed shoes.

The more orthodox synagogues might require women to cover their hair, so it might be handy to bring a shawl or pashmina along in case. If you are unsure about any of the rules and do not wish to offend, check with the synagogue beforehand, or ask one of the synagogue’s attendants about the dress code.

what to wear in temples
By: Ryan

What to Wear at a Hindu Temple

The rules for entering a Hindu temple are generally speaking, similar to those of a Mosque.

You will take your shoes off at the door and you may find that many of the local women cover up their hair as well.

Women are also forbidden from entering Hindu temples if they are menstruating.

This is an ancient rule stems back to a time when a woman on her period was considered unclean.

Apparently the rule hasn’t been updated since the invention of tampons, so as long as you are discreet, it is highly unlikely to be enforced!

A Few Extra Words..

What to wear in temples there’s a golden rule: try not to wear any clothing with loud messages displayed. Avoid shirts with sayings or band names on them.

Modesty is obviously the golden rule here, so cover up with either an ankle length skirt or jeans that are not too tight. Wear tops with long sleeves that don’t show any cleavage.

Women should also ensure their hair is covered by a headscarf and that shoes are taken off at the door upon entering a mosque. Men and women are typically separated to pray in different areas of mosques.

Do you struggle with what to wear in temples? What are some of your favorite temples in the world?


About Author

Kirsten Amor is a twenty-something year old journalist and photographer whose past adventures include excavating Neolithic settlements in Jordan, offroading down sand dunes in Qatar, and exploring a necropolis beneath the Vatican to name a few. Currently residing in London, you can follow her adventures and day-to-day work on www.amorexplorephotography.tumblr.com and www.amorexplore.co.uk/blog.

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