Customs in India

There are various official languages throughout India, depending on the state, Hindi being the most popular of all.

The currency used in India is the Rupee (INR) - Rs

Customs and Etiquette in Everyday Life and Socialization

If you are meeting a group of people, the eldest should be greeted first. Proper greeting in India is a handshake. It is customary for men to shake hands with other men, and women to with others; however, due to religious beliefs some do not exchange handshakes with members of the opposite sex. If you are in this situation and unsure what to do, just wait for the other person to offer their hand first.

If you are invited to an Indian home for dinner, dress modestly and be prepared to remove your shoes as you enter the house. Bring your hosts a small gift, but avoid white flowers, leather and alcoholic beverages. Green, red and yellow are considered lucky colors; having your gift wrapped in one of these colors would be a nice touch.

Remain standing until you are shown to your seat at the table. Do not be afraid to eat with your hands; scooping sauce or food with your bread is acceptable. Keep in mind dietary restrictions around India: Sikhs do not eat beef, Muslims do not eat pork or drink alcohol and many Hindus are vegetarians - those who are not still do not eat beef. When you are finished eating, indicate so by leaving a small amount of food on your plate.

When it comes to gratuity, tipping is acceptable and appreciated in India.

• Restaurants: 5-10%
• Taxis: 10%
• Porters and Bellhops: Rs30 per bag

Customs and Etiquette in Business

To schedule a meeting for business in India, make your appointment by letter at least 2 months prior. Reconfirm a few days beforehand by telephone. Arrive on time, and be prepared for a lengthy amount of time spent on getting to know your new business associates; some initial meetings are held for this purpose only.

When attending a business meeting in India, women and men both should dress conservatively. Men should wear a dark suit and tie; ladies should wear a skirt and blouse or business suit, minimal accessories.

When exchanging business cards, the right hand should be used to give and receive cards. Have any advanced degrees and your company's founding date printed on your business card.


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