Know your Indian visitor


'Namaste' (naa-maas-tay)

Pointing with your finger is considered rude and very bad manners. Don’t do this in front of your Indian guests.

Whistling in public is unacceptable behaviour.

Because Indian people traditionally eat with their hands, make sure that you provide plenty of serviettes and a finger bowl.

Older travellers enjoy family holidays, particularly age-appropriate fun, safe experiences.

Elderly travellers really appreciate the small touches, so surprise them with masala chai tea in the mornings.

Plan a visit to watch a cricket match, as this sport is very popular.

Theme parks are a favourite among younger travellers; add them to your itinerary.

Family adventures are also popular, scuba diving and hiking in particular.

It is proper Indian etiquette to use a person’s title, such as Doctor or Professor. Courtesy titles such as Mr, Mrs or Miss should be used until one is invited to use first names.

It is considered proper to wash your hands before and after eating, and to make sure your fingernails are clean.

Indian people will usually finish everything on their plate, as wasting food is considered extremely disrespectful.

Indian diners usually neither gobble their food nor take too long over a meal. It is polite to eat at a medium pace, set by watching one’s fellow diners.

Meals are traditionally eaten with the hands. Never use your left hand, as this is considered unclean.

Indians are among the world’s lowest consumers of alcohol, but the trend is changing, especially among the youth. Always enquire about drink choices before placing wine bottles on the dinner table, for example.

Indians are usually very particular about the food they eat, so choose quality Indian restaurant options.

Meal choices usually exclude beef and pork, so check with your guests before including these dishes on the menu.

Around 40% of Indians are vegetarian – make sure you have a substantial choice of non-meat dishes on the menu.

If you are giving welcome or farewell presents to guests, keep in mind that many Hindus are vegetarian, so a gift made of leather is unsuitable.

It is polite in India to remove your shoes and leave them outside the front door before entering an Indian home.

All Indian ethnic groups frown upon public displays of affection between men and women.