suggestions for female travelers…
The etiquette for clothing in most of India (with exception of big cities like Mumbai/Bombay), and particularly at the Ashram and surrounding neighborhood, is more modest than the usual western attire to which you may be accustomed.
Sure Summers may be hot and even the sun may feel great in the Winter, but remember here is it not the culture to sun-bathe; no one is concerned with maximizing their sun exposure by wearing little clothes. To protect from the heat as well as curious male onlookers, loose fitting light fabrics are better than how you may dress at home in such weather; unfortunately we may have to adjust our comforts in order to maintain our safety.
However we do recommend making this part of your daily routine, please check with us before deciding what to wear while bathing in the holy Ganga, how to go about changing out of your wet clothes, or what to wear if you plan to walk back to your room wet.
If you choose to wear tight leggings, shorts and / or sleeveless tops in the yoga hall, please be prepared to cover up with scarfs/lungis while walking around the ashram campus and especially throughout Haridwar.
Haridwar is a popular pilgrimage town where people from all over the country come, mostly from more rural (less globally exposed) places. However the ashram staff may be used to seeing your knees, shoulders, bra straps and cleavage on (rare) occasion, the general public outside on the street are not. We cannot be responsible for their reaction / behavior towards you in the event you are not dressed appropriately (ie. conservatively). We have found the more you try to fit in (wearing local style clothing) the more you are respected and better you are treated by locals (shop keepers, rickshaw walas, auto walas, taxi walas etc.).
Furthermore, a seemingly no big deal isolated incident may happen to you, you’ll get over it and go home; but please keep in mind that, since we are one of very few ashrams that foreigners frequent in Haridwar, anything that happens in Haridwar to any foreigner (whether or not that foreigner is actually staying with us) affects us, leaving a mark / stigma on the ashram – usually perpetuating the already heavily misinformed stereotypes existing about foreign women. Therefore we encourage you to dress for caution and safety first.
[dos and don’ts photos coming soon…]
thank you in advance for your cooperation.