Indian society has a set of etiquettes and manners that define its cultural heritage. Explore social etiquette and protocol in India.


India is a vibrant amalgamation of varied ethnic groups, climate, cultures, regions and traditions. As such, many people visiting the country for the first time find it uniquely different. On one hand, you will find many conservatively dressed Indian women flocking the temple entrance. On the other, there are others who have no qualms walking the fashion ramp in the skimpiest of clothes. While there are millions of illiterates in the Indian subcontinent, there are also those who are the driving force behind the booming IT industry in India. In order to avoid making any unintentional faux pas, read the below mentioned social and cultural etiquettes that are in tune with the general Indian manners and protocol.

Dressing Etiquette
Majority of the Indians, especially in the rural areas, small towns and cities, are a conservative lot. Short, revealing clothes, especially for women, is a strict no-no. As such, it's expected of you to dress up accordingly when you go out for sight-seeing. You can wear knee length Bermudas, tee shirts, long or quarter length skirts, capris and jeans. However, when inside your hotel rooms or at high-end restaurants, bars and discos, you can dress in a more relaxed manner, without worrying much about the dressing codes.

Indian temple etiquette stipulates that you take off your shoes before entering the premises. The same applies to even certain churches in India. Usually, there will be people stationed outside most temples and gurdwaras, who will keep your shoes safely for a nominal sum. You will be expected to follow the same protocol when you visit as person's home in some of the cities of India. It will, thus, be convenient for you if you wear flip-flops or floaters instead of shoes.

Indian culture and tradition forbids unnecessary touching or any form of physical contact, especially between a man and a woman, in public. Kissing in public is a not advisable here. You can shake hands with people, or better still stick, to the traditional Namaste, the popular Indian style greeting. For this, you need to press your hands together with all fingers pointing towards the sky in front of your chest and politely say Namaste, while looking at the person you are saying it to.

Avoid Offence
Indian manners and etiquette tips also comprises not speaking ill about or criticize the country or its people openly. The natives are bound to take great offence to it. At the same time, never address the elderly by their first name, unless they allow you to. It's advisable you call them sir or madam instead. With youngsters, you can choose to be informal. It is also considered disrespectful in India to use strong swear words publicly.