A few tips to help you not to ”put your foot in your month” while traveling in India…
The graceful, traditional greeting called Namaste.
This is a hierarchical culture, so greet the eldest or most senior person first.
Shaking hands is common, especially in the large cities among the more educated who are accustomed to dealing with westerners. / Men may shake hands with other men and women may shake hands with other women
Indians do not like to express ‘no,’ be it verbally or non- verbally.
Rather than disappoint you, for example, by saying something isn’t available, Indians will offer you the response that they think you want to hear.
This behaviour should not be considered dishonest. An Indian would be considered terribly rude if he did not attempt to give a person what had been asked.
Since they do not like to give negative answers, Indians may give an affirmative answer but be deliberately vague about any specific details. This will require you to look for non-verbal cues.
Indians revere titles such as Professor, Doctor and Engineer.
Status is determined by age, university degree, caste and profession.
If someone does not have a professional title, use the honorific title “Sir” or “Madam”.
Wait to be invited before using someone’s first name without the title.
Indians believe that giving gifts eases the transition into the next life.
Gifts of cash are given to friends and members of the extended family to celebrate life events such as birth, death and marriage.
Do not give frangipani or white flowers as they are used at funerals.
Yellow, green and red are lucky colours, so try to use them to wrap gifts.
A gift from a man should be said to come from both he and his wife/mother/sister or some other female relative.
Hindus should not be given gifts made of leather.
Gifts are not opened when received.
Take off your shoes before entering the house.
Dress modestly and conservatively.
Politely turn down the first offer of tea, coffee, or snacks. You will be asked again and again. Saying no to the first invitation is part of the protocol.