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. 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.