India has a cultural history of more than 5,000 years and over these years it has developed certain etiquette practices. Hailing from India, I would like to mention some of the practices here, so that when you travel to India you won’t feel awkward.
When you are Meeting, or Greeting somebody.
- When you are meeting elders, you touch their feet to seek for blessings, but this is practiced amongst relatives or close family friends only.
- For formal meetings (especially with elders), you should place both your hands together and with a slight bow say “Namaste”.
- Generally, men shake hands with other men on meeting or leaving but avoid it with women. They generally greet women with the “Namaste” gesture.
- Women might shake hands with other women and can even shake hands with men but it is up to their discretion.
- Public display of affection by same gender couples or even by opposite gender couples is considered rude and in some cases, is punishable by law.
- Never touch anyone’s head, it is considered extremely rude.
- Indians eat with hands, so before sitting at the dining table wash your hands with soap and only use the right hand to eat or serve food. Left hand is considered unclean so avoid using it.
- Do not waste food.
- Do not give money with left hand as it is not considered good.
- When people drop money or books on the floor they generally pick it up and touch them with forehead. Money and books are treated as goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati respectively, so never throw money or a book and never touch them with feet.
These are just a few practices, hope this post will be helpful to you when you visit India.