Equities of South India
An irresistible magnet for visitors through the ages where people are friendly and are known for hospitality, India continues to lay the red carpet for tourist from all over the world. Nevertheless, certain situations may arise where deviating from the accepted customs will be considered as a sign of disrespect. These are the situations you need to know about.
The five states of Southern India: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala; Tamil Nadu and Telangana and union territories Lakshadweep & Andaman Nicobar is different customs. You may find the metros more liberal and cosmopolitan, whereas in the hinter land you may come across various unusual customs preserved over thousands of years. You may also find that, in general, the attitude to life is very different from that in the western world.
- Always remove your shoes before entering a holy place - a temple, A good rule is to dress conservatively while visiting a place of worship.
- Feet and the left hand are considered impure so do not touch any holy object with these. It is also considered impolite togive, take or point at anything with the left hand.
- Refrain from using the left hand in case you are required to eat with your fingers at any place.
- Public show of affection is generally disapproved, more so in smaller cities and villages.
- Avoid wearing clothes that bare your arms and legs - in the small cities and villages in particular. Metros are fairly permissivein this particular respect.
- Pay attention to instructions written on notice boards at holy places. These will inform you of what items may beinappropriate e.g. 'leather objects not allowed', 'cameras not allowed', 'menstruating women not allowed' and so on.
- Tipping is customary, though not mandatory. At restaurants, the usual rule of 10 percent of the bill amount applies.
- Bargaining for a lesser price is a fairly common practice, especially at local bazaars and for fare with rickshaw and auto drivers(if not paying by meter reading). However, recognized and larger shops and departmental stores usually charge fixed
- Always shake hands and eat with your right hand (the left is reserved for far more unsavoury activities). Saying Namaste with hands together in a prayer gesture is a traditional, respectful Hindu greeting and is the best greeting for someone of the opposite gender.
- Religion Religious etiquette advises against touching locals on the head, or directing the soles of your feet at a person, religious shrine or image of a deity. Protocol also advises against touching someone with your feet or touching a carving of a deity.
- It's considered bad manners to enter someone's home without removing your shoes, and shoes are also prohibited in many temples and shrines.
- Photography inside religious shrines is generally prohibited; photography of funerals or processions of the dead is also likely to cause offence. Ask before photographing people, ceremonies or sacred sites.