• Guests are generally offered a refreshment depending on the season and the time of visit. Arriving at meal times might result in an invitation to the meal. However, at times this is just a polite offer and sometimes can be a faux pas. While dining, additional food may be offered multiple times. These are generally second and third “rounds” and it is not considered rude to decline them.
    • The word “drink” as a noun almost always refers to alcohol in Indian English.
    • It is polite to offer refreshments and this custom has been carried by Indians outside of India as well.
    • Indian hospitality requires the host to insist their guests eat well and gently protest that they haven’t had enough. It would be rude to decline by stating one is watching one’s diet.



    • Some Hindu households follow a vegetarian diet and many vegetarian/non-vegetarian households do not consume alcohol.
    • Many Indian households expect visitors to leave their footwear at the main door of their house.
    • It is considered immature and boorish to open a gift in front of the person who has given it. Gifts are opened in private.
    • As India has a long colonial history, many rules of Western (specifically British) etiquette are widely observed.
    • Eating, accepting goods or making payments with the left hand can be a faux pas (as it is associated with hygiene and cleanliness – left hand is unclean). In some situations, using both hands together is a sign of respect, such as a handshake, offering a gift or giving something in the temple.
    • Some points of etiquette in the Middle East apply here, especially in regions where the Muslim presence is strongest.
    • Many people in India and surrounding regions avoid shaking hands with individuals of the opposite gender. When meeting a person of the opposite gender, it is prudent to verbally greet them and then wait to see if the other person extends the hand first. Most often, especially with more elderly individuals, Hindus greet with palms together and say Namaste or its variants based on what region the individual is from such as Namaskaram and Vanakam down south and ‘Nomoshkar’ in Bengal.
    • For a man to make any comment about a woman’s appearance can be considered inappropriate.



  • Asking a person to a social event (e.g. a bar or restaurant) typically implies that the person offering the invitation will be paying for everything.
  • In the Hindu community, it is common for young people to seek the blessings of elders by bending and touching their feet. However, this practice is not followed in the Muslim community.
  • Among many communities, beliefs regarding holiness and cleanliness forbid the touching of one’s feet to a person or an important object such as a book or food which are considered to be divine blessings by most Hindus. Custom also discourages displaying the soles of one’s feet. Feet should not be extended toward another person (especially an elder), or towards any religious artifact or symbol. Shoes are typically removed when entering a dwelling or place of worship.
  • It is generally expected that men and women dress modestly when visiting the Hindu Temple. This can also be true of other places of worship in India.
  • It is impolite and can be considered an insult to refuse the offering of prasad.”Hindus believe that the prasad has the God’s blessing residing within it”. Offering of the prasad is by no means an attempt to evangelize nor should it be seen as forcing of someone else’s belief onto oneself.
  • The prasad must be accepted with the right hand or both hands when the prasad includes heavier items such as coconuts.
  • It is considered impolite to address a person who is older or holds a higher status by their first name. In Hindi, the first name is usually followed by “ji” to show respect. Older non-relatives such as family friends or parents of close friends are usually referred to as Uncle and Aunty. It is rude for one to address elders by their names.
  • It is considered impolite to kiss a significant other in front of parents or other elders.
  • Asking questions about the caste system or worshipping cows is frowned upon and will usually mark one as ignorant or rude.
  • Interacting with children is appreciated.
  • “What are you doing/What do you do?” as in what does one do for work or as an occupation is a common phrase as a conversation starter after greetings, and is a normal way of trying to initiate conversation with one.
  • Caste is a very ancient and complex aspect of Hindu culture, and talking about the moral aspects of caste is fraught with too many possible faux pas for the unfamiliar. Most Hindus belong to a caste.
  • The general principle of dining in South and parts of South-east Asia is to always use ones right hand to consume, even if one is left-handed.

 

 

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*This guide is mainly based on wikipedia’s texts & images. We thank the authors , for their great efforts