Customs & Etiquette (India)

In India, roughly 80% of the population is Hindu, 12% Muslim and the remainder a mix of Buddhist, Christians, Sikhs and Jains. With this in mind, the laws, regulations and behaviour are affected by this colourful mix and we ask you to respect them by following some simple rules:
  • Greet people with the ‘namaste’ traditional greeting rather than trying to shake hands – clasp hands together in front of you, bow your head forward and say ‘namaste’ for both hello and goodbye. Indian women, in particular prefer not to shake hands.
  • Remove your shoes when entering any religious sites and houses (especially kitchen areas)
  • Public displays of affection between men and women are not acceptable – Indian men commonly hold hands as a sign of friendship
  • Move around chortens, other shrines, alters and all religious objects or buildings in a clockwise direction
  • Do not wear any leather articles (shoes, belts, camera straps) at any Jain temples
  • Try not to point the soles of your feet towards people or towards religious objects
  • Cameras are not allowed in some sightseeing spots, particularly temples and pagodas
  • Never offer or accept anything with the left hand, use the right hand or both hands
  • Do not raise your voice as this can be very offensive
  • Women should never touch a monk, or their robes