India tops many people's bucket lists due to its diversity and natural beauty. Even though Indians are incredibly friendly and welcoming, it is always advisable to abide by local laws and social norms to avoid offending anyone. Here are 15 things you should never do in India to have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Do not wear shoes inside a temple or at home
In India, it's a tradition to take off your shoes before entering a place of worship. Additionally, unless the host has explicitly stated otherwise, remove your shoes before entering their home if you have been invited there. Although some Indians do wear slippers indoors, they are rarely worn outside. This technique also applies to several stores. Therefore, it's a good idea to take off your shoes if you notice them at the entrance door.
Do not give or take things with your left hand
In India, the left hand is stigmatized as unclean because it is often used for filthy tasks like cleansing yourself after using the restroom, taking off and putting on your clogs, wiping your feet, etc. It is improper and unlucky to accept prasad or give alms with the left hand, especially in religious settings. Therefore, the right hand must always be used whenever there is contact with food, when passing or taking goods, or when engaging with others. However, this is not required for southpaws!
Do not point your finger or touch anything with your feet
Never point your finger at anybody as another etiquette guideline. This is viewed as impolite. Use your entire hand or your thumb to call attention to someone or something if necessary. Additionally, it is regarded as quite rude to touch someone or something with your feet, especially books and educational equipment. Indians reverently touch the artifact with their hands and bring it close to their eyes as a sign of repentance if it is accidentally touched.
Do not wear skimpy clothes
India is a country with a blend of modern and traditional thinking, and regional differences in attire for women are also present. Urban areas like Goa, Delhi, or Mumbai allow you to dress whichever you like. However, it is strongly advised to dress modestly and avoid baring too much skin in small towns and cities, particularly in rural India. It will help you blend in with the community while also fending off unwanted looks. When visiting a place of worship, be careful to put on a stole or scarf.
Do not expect punctuality
Do you know what IST is? It signifies Indian Stretchable Time to Indians, while it implies Indian Standard Time to the rest of the world. Time is seen differently by Indians. When someone says, "I'm on my way," they are essentially saying, "I haven't even left my house yet." Frequently, five minutes are equal to thirty minutes, and thirty minutes are equal to one hour (or even two hours). Everything here always runs late, whether it's a meeting, a social function, or a public transportation system. You should thus arrive at least 20 or 30 minutes later the next time you are invited to a party that starts at 7:00 p.m. We assure you that it won't be viewed as rude.
Do not show affection in public
Public displays of love (PDA) are frowned upon in India and, believe it or not, can even result in up to three months in jail (there are certain caveats, though). Therefore, it's preferable to refrain from any PDA (even hand holding in specific locations) to avoid dealing with moral policing or hostile looks.
Do not strike up political or religious conversations
Avoid discussing or criticizing Indian politics, as well as insulting specific religious and ethnic groups. Even though India is a democratic nation with freedom of speech and many Indians are outspoken about their opinions, you should avoid initiating any conversations on religion or politics because these subjects are notorious for becoming contentious. There are undoubtedly more intriguing topics to discuss!
Do not be offended by probing questions
Indians are a curious people. They might even ask you about your family, marriage, career, and finances during your initial meeting! It's just their ice-breaker strategy. So, if someone asks you such questions straight away, don't be shocked or upset, and just play along. Oh, and remember to reciprocate in kind as well.
Do not drink tap water
Avoid drinking India's tap water because it contains the bacteria Escherichia coli, which can get you sick. It is best to always have a bottle of mineral water on you. Indians only drink bottled water or boil their tap water to make it drinkable (which is pretty cheap). It's usually best to go the safe route and get mineral water rather than ordinary water when dining out.
Do not expect to pay for everything with a credit card
Cash is king in India. There are just as many expensive shopping centers, shops, restaurants, and hotels that don't accept credit cards as there are. Cash is your savior in these circumstances because debit cards are occasionally also not accepted. Additionally, it's far simpler to get an ATM in a city than it is in a small village or town. Therefore, be sure to always have a sufficient amount of cash on you. Keep your smaller change for tipping, parking, and other small purchases.
Do not drink or smoke in public places and don’t do drugs!
In the country, it is against the law to smoke and consume alcohol in public. If you want to enjoy this, do it at home or in authorized locations. Additionally, engaging in any of these activities could result in a conviction for drug use, possession, or distribution.
Do not expect everyone to speak English
India has a wide variety of languages and cultures. There are many different languages spoken in the nation, and each region has its unique dialect. Even while you can get by with English in some locations, it's worthwhile to acquire a few regional vocabulary and phrases if you plan to travel outside of urban areas. Because they will perceive that you appreciate their culture, this will also help you develop friends in the community.
Do not think of beef
Due to the Hindu belief that cows are sacred, eating beef has always been frowned upon in the nation. Additionally, cow slaughter is prohibited in many regions of India, which has led to unrest. Although most foreign visitors are safe, it is nonetheless strongly advised to confirm the legality before ordering a beef dish.
Do not diss cricket
Indians consider cricket to be their religion, so disparaging it will undoubtedly draw some attention. It won't be welcomed either if you criticize the Indian cricket squad. The best course of action is to simply enjoy the sport like locals does without making any comments.
Do not stick to popular tourist destinations
Some of the most well-liked tourist destinations include Goa, Delhi, and Mumbai, and for good reason. However, there are a ton of undiscovered locations that are all worthwhile trips in this immensely large and diverse country.