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The Do's and Don't s In Indian Culture

Travel Guide By: Holly Flitsch


Indian Culture
Do's Part II

 Do greet people with a namaste. To show respect towards the Indian customs greet them with a
namaste, which is a slight bow with both hands placed together.

 Do be polite, but persistent when dealing with business. Indian business is slow and difficult, but
instead of becoming angry, firmly restate your proposal with a smile. Count on several visits
before an agreement is finally made.

 Do allow hosts to serve you. Hosts feel obligated to keep your plate full, but it is not required for
you to finish all of it.

 Do ask permission to smoke. It is considered rude to smoke in front of the elderly.

 Don't wear tight or revealing clothing. Indians have adopted a very conservative way of dressing
where men are rarely seen wearing shorts and women don't wear skirts exposing their ankles.
Covering shoulders and legs when visiting temples in India are extremely important, and you will
gain respect if you do so.

 Don't wear your shoes inside. It is good manners to remove shoes when going into someone's
house, certain shops, a temple, or mosque. There are special shoes designated to be worn inside
of a house, but never outside.

 Don't kiss or hug in public. These are looked on as acts of sex, even holding hands is often
frowned upon, although some Indian men may hold hands to show "brotherliness".

 Don't stand too close to Indians. They value their personal space and generally allow an arm's
length from themselves and others.

Don't s Part II

 Do negotiate prices. As a foreigner you may be quoted a price much higher than that Indians
would normally pay. Never accept the price, even at markets.

 Do point with your chin, whole hand, or thumb. Pointing with only one or two fingers is improper
and only used when communicating with inferiors.

 Do arrive to a gatherings 15-30 minutes late.


 Do politely turn down offers of beverages and snacks if you don't want them. Generally you will
be offered these numerous times once you have accepted it.

•Don't point your feet at people. Feet are considered unclean, so it is important to avoid pointing them or
touching objects and people with them. If you do so, you must apologize right away. On the other hand, it
is a symbol of respect to bend down and touch an elderly person's feet.
•Don't eat or pass objects with your left hand. The left hand is considered unclean, just like feet, because
it is used to perform matters associated with going to the bathroom.
•Don't be offended by intrusive questions. Indian people often don't "mind their own business", due to the
lack of privacy and personal space in India. As a result avoid being surprised or offended if someone asks
how much your salary is. Instead engage in conversation and feel free to ask them similar questions.

Do's Part I
Background:
The culture of India is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to over 5,000 years. India is located in
South Asia. India is a very diverse country with different regions having their own distinct cultures. Seven
territories and twenty-eight states make up India, each with at least one official language.
Language and Religion:
Hindi and English are the national languages, and there are about 22 official languages.
India is the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism. About 84% of the population is Hindu, 13% are Muslim,
and Christians and Sikhs make up a small percentage.
Food and Entertainment:
Indian cuisine boasts Arab, Turkish, and European influences. Many Hindus are vegetarians. Much Indian
food is eaten with fingers or bread used as utensils.
India is well known for its film industry, which is based in Mumbai and is often referred to as Bollywood.
The country started as a major producer of movies in the 1930s, today they are known more for elaborate
singing and dancing films.
Indian dance has a tradition of more than 2,000 years with a majority of classical dances drawn on
themes from mythology and literature.
Clothing:
Women wear colorful silk saris which cover their ankles and men wear the dhoti, which is a piece of cloth
about 5 yards long that is tied around the waist and legs. Men may also wear a kurta, loose shirt that is
knee length, or for special occasions a sherwani, a long coat that is buttoned from the knees to the collar.

Don't s Part I