Lucknow: Following a guideline by Lucknow District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, visitors to the historic Bara and Chhota Imambaras are now being asked to come in ‘decent clothes’.

Those in ‘indecent clothes’ are being stopped at gates, said the guard. A senior district official said that the administration had been receiving complaints from the Hussainabad Trust, that managed the two ‘imambaras’, that women tourists, who were ”indecently dressed”, were also allowed entry into the iconic building.

“No more short skirts and skimpy tops at Chhota and Bada Imambaras. Visitors will have to wear clothes that cover their body, keeping in mind the sanctity of the
over-two-centuries old monuments. Professional photography and video shoots,” the DM had said.

The Bada Imambara, a shrine built by Awadh’s Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, is a must-visit for tourists. The DM added that guards and guides have also been instructed to keep a vigil to “check obscenity that hurts religious sentiments”. The Imambaras have religious sanctity for Shias who resent “indecent” behaviour.

The decision was taken at a meeting that was attended by representatives of the Husainabad Allied Trust and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The trust manages the two monuments that are declared as protected sites by the ASI.

Upset over tourists roaming around in “revealing and improper clothes” within the precincts, a group of Shia clerics, historians and civil society members wrote to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the ASI and the district administration, seeking action in the matter.

The signatories had questioned why a code of conduct was not made mandatory for visitors to the Imambaras while other shrines such as the Golden Temple in
Amritsar had strictly implemented them. The DM said that the ASI had also been directed to renovate parts of the monuments that were showing signs of decay.