What to wear in India?

What to wear in India? What kind of clothes would be safe to wear? What should I pack? Can I carry my shorts along? Should I carry cotton or linen or woollens or all? Should I carry flats or high heels? Are these questions in your mind too? Well then read along, as I pen down some basic tips that would help you pack that bag for your trip to India.

What should you wear in India?

"What to wear in India"
Tourists in India wearing Indian clothing. Source: Eric.Parker’s on flickr

The first rule of travelling in India or for that matter anywhere is to travel light, hence carry minimal clothing. If need be, you can always purchase in India itself considering clothing is fairly economical plus there are shortages of clothes shops.

The mindset across the world is that India is a very traditional and conservative in terms of clothing and attires. However, there is more to that! If you are travelling to cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta (Kolkata) or Pune, you will find that the dressing is fairly modern and liberal so you can wear jeans, t-shirts and skirts. The only point to keep in mind is dressing in a way to avoid unwanted attention. The tip therefore is to avoid any clothing that is too revealing. In religious towns and villages on the other hand it is better to don fairly traditional clothing.

Female tourist in India what to wear in India
Foreign female tourist at the Red Fort in Delhi

Here’s my guide to a female student travelling in India

The weather in India is usually hot and humid hence jeans at times can become uncomfortable to wear. So the alternative could be cotton pants or trousers for the ladies. It could be full length or knee length. You could team it up with shirts, t-shirts or tops. For men a cotton trouser with shirt is always the best option and you could go for shorts too.

Things you need to travel in the summer

Another factor to keep in mind while picking clothes is the hot sun and the mosquitoes in India. Hence to avoid that distasteful sun tan during the day and the mosquito bites at night it is always advisable to wear full sleeved clothes.

If your itinerary includes a place of worship such as temples, mosques or gurudwaras then women must wear long skirts or trousers; preferably with full sleeve shirts or tops and carry a stole or a scarf to cover the head. Also, one must remove the footwear before entering any religious place.

Japanese tourist wearing sari in Agra
Japanese tourist wearing sari in Agra

There is always the apprehension whether or not to wear sleeveless shirts and tops in India. The idea is if decent then anything can be worn without worry. Also, your backpack should always have a scarf or stole and an umbrella. The latter could serve you both in the sun and in rain.

If you are going to a beach destination then carry your swimwear along as Indians do not use swimwear that much and you may find it difficult hunting down the right one for you. However there are exceptions; there are no such reservations on the beaches of Goa.

What should white female tourists wear in India?

India is very hot during the months of March to October hence pack light clothes, preferably cotton. Also carry lots of sunscreen and mosquito repellents along. Indian winters can be very extreme too, especially in the North, hence carry abundant warm clothes for a vacation in that season.

Now for the footwear, it is always comfortable to wear flat shows, trainers and sneakers. Flip flips will also do well. High heels can best be avoided.

If you wish to blend in and want to explore some Indian clothes then you could wear Kurtis, Churidars, salwars and harem pants. These are readily available in the local markets and are comfortable too.

Find out what Indians wear here

Dress modestly and you’ll sail through your holiday in India with ease and without any uninvited stares.

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67 thoughts on “What to wear in India?”

  1. what you really really need is a good sunscreen product (broad spectrum) because sunray in India is very strong and can be harmful to your skin a lot. I don’t think clothing could be any problems.
    really thankful for your useful article here. very appriciate your post.


  2. Hi we try to travel when we can. When we do we try to fit in to the culture and dress appropriately maybe not exactly like the locals. But so that we don’t stick out like a sore thumb. I think you get on a lot better like this.

    Thanks lee

  3. Hey, I am from India.
    In India men mostly wears Jeans-T Shirts and women’s wear Kurtis-Sal war aw well as sarees.And yo know foreigner also like to wear this dresses.
    I am PROUD that I am Indian.

  4. Great shalu, but I also want toadd my words on your topic as “what to wear in India”.
    we are Indians and i know that most of the people are not much good about the girls and their mentality also explicits the women but its not completely true, we Indians are developing our country and changing our mindsets about girls and their clothes.

  5. Nice Information about What to wear During Indian Tour thanks for the update. This is my first time i visit here. i will sure recommend it to my friends and relatives to read it if they are ever visiting india Keep Going And keep Updating us.

  6. Totally agree with the dress modestly comment, especially in the north. No bare shoulders, or even bare legs. I find Cotton T’s and linen pants are a godsend, and scarves to cover any collarbones etc are worthwhile.

  7. Hello Shalu, you’re shared an amazing article. I think many foreigners who did not visited India ever but have planning to visit will find this article suggestions handy for what type of outfits really suits in Indian culture. Great work!! Keep it up…

  8. Hi Shalu, This is such a amazing question that you shared on your Blog ! “What to Wear in India” This is a really big matter for tourist & specially for Indian women & girls ! As we all know there is much controversy on what to wear in India ! Well I think Just Suit & Salwar is Best to Wear in India 🙁

  9. Good points Shalu… being a hot country cotton is best suited for traveling in India. As most western clothes are synthetic this post should help people before packing clothes and they can plan and back better.

  10. I am very glad to know about wearing cloth in India and its really great information for every tourist. I’m also wanted to visit India in this year and I think this post help to my shopping.

  11. Correct suggestions about wearing clothes in India. In religious place you should avoid any dress which reveal too much as religious people don’t like it and you may face trouble.

    However cities in India are quite advance and you can wear almost all kind of dresses there without any trouble.

  12. Shalu i came from fb group “Travel lover” Just see your post title and click to come here… Well India is a Incredible country and what to say that what should you or he or they wear its all depend on your culture..In India there are more then 25 culturist people its why India is Called Incredible India…

  13. Thanks Shalu ji for sharing your tips on what to wear in India. I am agree with your tips for providing such a insightful information on what to wear in India.

    Keep sharing travel tips!

  14. A best article I have ever seen on the topic of what to wear in India. Thanks for sharing nice tips with us, it will definitely useful to all foreign tourists.

  15. Yes it is true odd this always capture the attention so in India dress in western style always capture attention . To avoid such attention one should wear common dressing which is usual in India.

  16. It is not easy to figure out what to wear to a place like that. I mean, you don’t want to offend anyone and you don’t want to become a target either. That’s one of the reasons why I haven’t been there, but I really want to.

  17. Great post, Shalu ! It is really important for females to think over there dresses when visiting India. Moreover, one should wear lose fits while traveling as it makes them more comfortable to explore more places.

  18. Great post, Shalu ! It is really important for females to think over there dresses when visiting India. Moreover, one should wear lose fits while traveling as it makes them more comfortable to explore more places. You are really doing a great work by sharing this kind of information.

  19. The India have different type of culture so we are lucky because we are Indian. Here we can find all the seasons in 12 months.
    Foreigners should read the post to know more about What Wear in India.

  20. I must say people should feel comfortable while they are roaming around the city. In that case, a kurti or casual jeans could be the best thing to wear. Really good post!

  21. Indian Cultural clothes for women are very comfortable.It is good to wear the respectable dresses whenever women want to visit any religious places.It proves the nobility of personality.

    @Sahlu your post is milestone for all those ladies that have intention to visit India in current season.

  22. India is a mix of different cultures.So dressing is not a big deal. But for traveling I would suggest that wearing a simple dress will be easy and comfortable. It is true that wearing western style dresses in India would turn the heads around you. So its is best to wear a simple and decent type of dress to avoid any issues especially for females.

    Nice post and would be very helpful for many tourists who are new to India.

    Thank you for sharing.

  23. Hi, as per my opinion, India is very Big Country so there is lots of place where u get different different whether, so u need u pack all type of cloth ….

  24. It is not important that foreigners have to wear exact indian dresses, Local population understand that this is not their culture.

  25. I think it help the foreigner very much. Lots of people used to think that what to wear when visit india.

  26. I strongly feel that foreigners should be left open to wear whatever they wish! They shall not be restricted to wear shorts dresses or anything that they feel comfortable in.

  27. Amaze! I have been looking bing for hours because of this and i also in the end think it is in this article! Maybe I recommend you something helps me all the time? Here’s it

  28. Nice Information about visiting India. I am very glad to know about wearing cloth in India and its really great information for every tourist. I’m also wanted to visit India in this year and I think this post help to my shopping.

  29. You have covered almost everything which gives ideas to foreigners that what they should wear in India according to temperature and locations so they looks more attractive. Nice and informative post for tourist.

  30. its really a great information on what to wear in india especially to a foriegner. the other important question i would like to bring here is , when we indians travel to foreign countries especially cold countries like switzerland or norway. i see few women wearing a saree in the cold countries and the native people look at us in a odd way. You are very nice writer so i would love to see a post on what to wear in a foreign country for an indian.

  31. Why can’t people use common sense when it comes to visit for lets say temples .It’s simple cover your skin up .Would you go to church in a bikini .

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