India, as a country with an ancient civilization, is unquestionably attractive destination for every traveler. However, India is also a country with multiple nationalities, religions and cultures. According to statistics, near 99% Indian are religious believer (about 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2% Christian, 2% Sikhism, 2% others). That is to say that travelers need to pay attention to some religious cultures and traditions in India. For a better experience, this article will list eight things you need to focus on in India.
Due to the Muslim culture, the left hand is usually considered as the symbol of uncleanness. Especially in the south of India, many people are used to clean themselves by left hand after using the toilet. Therefore, as a traveler, you need to pay attention to your left hands in different occasions, for example, avoid touching, shaking hand, contacting with the food or handing over anything to others by your left hand. Left-hander does not have to worry too much about it, let them know and avoid using right hand to repeat the previous steps.
2.Do not touch other people's head or foot randomly
According to traditional cultures of Hinduism, the head is treated as the most sacred and sensitive part for one person; the foot is identified as the lousy part of body. Touching other people's head or foot randomly will be deemed as an improper behavior. Especially for kids, this behavior will be considered as malicious injury.
3.Cattle & Zebu
The cattle plays an important role in the history of Hinduism, the zebu is treated as a holy symbol (In Indian legend, zebu serves as the mount to the god). Because of economic interests and consumer trend, Indian demand for beef is increase year by year, but tourists still would better to avoid eating and using the products made with cattle or bull parts. Therefore, chicken, lamb or fish will be your best choices in India.
Zube can be seen in many places of India
4.Visiting temples or mosques
It is necessary for traveler to follow the local religious etiquette while entering the temples or mosques:
(1). You would better to enter the building after taking off your shoes. If you are barefoot, you need to clean your sole of the foot, as a way to show your respect.
(2). You would better to prepare for a headscarf, and do not wear short sleeve, shorts or short skirt.
(3). Door threshold usually is seen as the shoulder of Buddha, so remember stepping over the door threshold instead of standing on it.
(4). Remember to walk quietly and do not make any noisy in temples or mosques, otherwise it will affect monk praying.
(5). Do not laugh at (or do other disrespectful behaviors to) any Buddhist images or religious ceremony, even the Buddha souvenir you bought.
(6). Women are not allowed to take part in some religious rites.
Indian women are use to dressing up in traditional costume
5.Avoid shaking hands with Indian women
India is a conservative and traditional society, nowadays Indian women usually are not allowed to shake hands with a male stranger. Therefore, you would better to greet someone by putting your palms together devoutly. In addition, do not try to invite hostess to have a dinner at the same table when you are a guest in a Indian home. As a female traveler, you would better not to talk too much with a local male stranger in India if you travel alone.
Anjali mudra is the best way for greeting in India
6.Head bobble means?
Body language is a good way to express or convey information, especially traveling abroad. Head bobble is a common gesture, especially in the south of India. In the most countries, nod means “OK” or “Agree” and head bobble means “Disagree”; In India, head bobble is a common body language used to express “Good”, “Ok” or “I know”, depending on different situation.
7.Pay attention to your behavior at public places
Whistling is considered as one of ungracious behaviors in many countries, including India. Whistling to someone in India will be treated as a provocative act. If someone whistle to you, just ignore him, otherwise you will get into trouble.
In addition, as a conservative and traditional country, some intimate gestures, such as cuddling or kissing, will be considered as inappropriate behavior at public places, especially in front of older generation.
8.Watch out for hawkers
In the foreign land, a warm hospitality will make travelers feel welcome and put them at ease. However, it may be one of customary tactics to approach travelers. At first, these hawkers will greet you with a grin, like “Hello! My friend!” or “Where are you from?”. If these hawkers think you are gullible, they will try to make you fall into their trap. Once you find they are hawkers, it is necessary to refuse them with stern and forceful words.
However, the youth of India are adopting open-minded values, some traditional ideas are erased by new ones in many developed areas, that is why India has made great development in the last decades. In conclusion, India is an excellent destination for travelling. There are still many customs and taboos in India, depending on where you are and which religion is. In other words, these tips can be applied in some states/areas of India, can not be applied elsewhere.
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