Etiquette

Indian culture is quite conservative by many world standards; tradition and social norms are usually strictly followed.

  • Greetings Always shake hands and eat with your right hand (the left is reserved for far more unsavoury activities). Saying namaste with hands together in a prayer gesture is a traditional, respectful Hindu greeting and is the best greeting for someone of the opposite gender.
  • Dress Tight or revealing clothing, with few exceptions, is likely to attract unwanted attention, especially for women. Head cover (for women and sometimes men) is required at some places of worship – especially gurdwaras (Sikh temples) and mosques.
  • Religion Religious etiquette advises against touching locals on the head, or directing the soles of your feet at a person, religious shrine or image of a deity. Protocol also advises against touching someone with your feet or touching a carving of a deity.
  • Shoes It's considered bad manners to enter someone's home without removing your shoes, and shoes are also prohibited in many temples and shrines.
  • Photography Photography inside religious shrines is generally prohibited; photography of funerals or processions of the dead is also likely to cause offence. Ask before photographing people, ceremonies or sacred sites.