We are a mere 30 days away from travel!  Etiquette seems like a befitting topic to discuss prior to our arrival.  Perhaps this post will be one of the most important sources to date on our webpage.  No matter where in the world one travels, there are specific rules of etiquette that any good traveler will be sure to follow.  India has some very unique situations to consider for Westerners and first time travelers.  Here are few of the things that we discovered in our research!

Basic Etiquette:

  • Wash hands before AND after each meal
  • Request desired items – NEVER reach across the table or in front of others
  • Silence is golden; don’t make too much noise
  • Don’t speak with food in your mouth
  • Always offer to help clean up especially after a meal
  • Phone usage is prohibited during meals
  • Formal address (Mr. or Mrs.) especially to elders


Social Interactions:

  • When leaving a group, bid farewell to each individual
  • Socially acceptable to shake hands/greet same gender
  • Socially inappropriate to shake hands/greet opposite gender
  • Most Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians, avoid public contact between man/woman
  • Standing tall with hands placed on hips indicates aggression
  • Pointing with fingers implies bad manners/rudeness
  • Whistling in public is perceived as bad behavior- disrespectful
  • Stand up when an elder enters a room and offer elders a seat
  • Visitors should be offered a beverage (preferably tea) when entering the home/office
  • Show respect to all flags and religious symbols- stand during national anthems
  • Don’t criticize the appearance of others in a negative fashion
  • Remove shoes when entering someone’s home
  • Dress modestly and conservatively
  • Indians usually don’t like to say or express the term “no”


Gift giving:

  • Indian belief is that gift giving allows easy transition into the next life
  • Gifts of cash are given only to friends or family during births, marriages, or death
  • Do not offer white flowers as a gift; white flowers indicate death
  • Yellow, green, and red are considered lucky colors and are used often when giving gifts
  • Hindus should not be given gifts made from leather
  • Muslims should not receive gifts made from pig skin or alcohol
  • When invited to an Indian home, bring chocolate or flowers or gifts for the children
  • If visiting a home during a festival it is customary to bring sweets


Dining Etiquette:

  • Some Indians do not use utensils when eating and use their hands. It is rude to ask for utensils if the person you are visiting does not use utensils.  
  • If eating with hands, do not use LEFT hand as this is unsanitary and offensive
  • NEVER double dip
  • SHARING is not appropriate (sharing spoons, drinks, etc.)





“A to Z Guide to Manners and Etiquette.” A to Z Guide to Manners and Etiquette. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.


“Home.” Country Profiles – Global Guide to Culture, Customs and Etiquette. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.