Pilgrim Site Etiquette
Tourists are encouraged to respect certain etiquettes when visiting sacred pilgrim sites.
Here are some common guidelines:
Be modestly dressed - Keep your body modestly covered. Do not wear shorts when visiting pilgrim sites. Men should wear a sarong, which can be borrowed at the pilgrim site. Women should be dressed in a long skirt or dress. Or else, they too, can purchase or borrow sarongs at the pilgrim site.
Remove head and foot wear - When you enter a temple remember to remove hats, bandanas, caps, shoes, sandals, and slippers. Some places like Dambulla and the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy have shoe booths. A man watches your foot and head wear for a fee.
Refrain from cell phone conversations - Avoid cell phone usage at pilgrim sites. It is an offense to the sacred place that you are at. If you need to use the cell phone, then step out of the temple and use it outside.
Security checkpoints - The major temples like the Temple of the Tooth and Ruwanweli Seya have security checkpoints before entering them. Visitors are checked thoroughly. If you are carrying video recorders and cameras be prepared to remove them from the cases for closer inspection. Also be expected to undergo a body search at security checkpoints.
You are not on your honeymoon - You are at a sacred site, not on your honeymoon. So behave appropriately. Avoid kissing, touching, or sexually provocative behaviour at pilgrim sites.
Alcohol consumption or drug use is prohibited - No alcohol or drug use is allowed on sacred premises.
Photography - Some pilgrim sites allow photography while others don’t. Usually there is a sign that indicates the policy associated with photography.