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Travel Tips: People & Religion

People

New Delhi soldier

Indians are generally a polite, gentle and friendly people. In the eyes of most of Indians the westerner represents the affluent society. The fact that many Indians speak English will makes it easy to communicate. In the urban area you will be able to manage your requirements with English.

Many Indians, urban and middle class people, are very westernised. However if you spend some time with traditional and rural people, please remember the following.

  1. In the custom of Indians the right hand has significant importance. Use only your right hand to eat, to greet someone, to shake hands, to point someone or something, to gift someone, to receive something etc.
  2. Similarly start a journey or enter a house or a shrine with your right leg.
  3. Do not touch food or cooking utensil that local people use.
  4. If you have to share water from a shared utensil, do not touch it to your lips. Keeping high above , pour it into your mouth.
  5. If you are invited to dine with a family, remove your footwear if the host does it and wash your hands before eating.
  6. Do not approach hearth or enter kitchen unless invited to.
  7. Enter the kitchen and the area where drinking water is stored only with bare foot.
  8. Do not serve yourself from terracotta water utensils. Always ask your host to serve.
  9. Indians are generally conservative about dresses. Women are expected to dress modestly covering their legs and shoulders. Many people may not approve women wearing shorts and short skirts. Men should wear a shirt in public.
  10. Dressing decently and staying well groomed will improve the impression you make on local people. It will help reduce sexual harassment as well.
  11. Please avoid kissing and embracing in public.
  12. Bathing naked in the beaches should be avoided. If you respect the people, don't do it.
  13. Taking photos of people, especially women, could be a sensitive issue. Always ask before you act.

Religion

In India religion is a way of life, an integral part of one's day to day activities, influencing every aspect of life.

  1. Always show due respect to religious structures and people at prayer.
  2. Do not enter a temple, a shrine or a mosque unless it is permitted.
  3. Always enter them without wearing your footwear and dress conservatively.
  4. Ask permission to take photos of deities or other structures of religious importance.
  5. Do not take photos of funerals and cremations.