Traveling in India - Business Etiquette and Culture

Traveling in India - Business Etiquette and Culture

There are several cultures in India which mean the diversity of these cultures call for their proper understanding. These traditions are a mixture of the old and new across East-West direction.

For people planning to travel to India especially those planning to do business, it is always advisable to make a step of understanding its diverse culture. The people of India, the colors, the structures, the industries are all important aspects of the Indian culture that need to be observed carefully when conducting business here. The language used, the approach to different people of different age and gender, behavior and etiquette need to be remodeled to fit in the culture.


The main business language is English while Hindi is the most popular and spoken language.

Mainly, English is used by the higher and middle class Indians and also the less-skilled people with basic speaking skills. E-mails are the most preferred when it comes to making appointments and setting up meetings. Postal contacts are seen as unreliable.

When referring to a person, the Indian names have the given first and the family names. Men and women respectively are commonly termed as 'Mr.' and 'Mrs.' showing formality.


The format of time is expressed similar to the British style of time format. The order is the day, month and the year. April to March is the period of the business year and there are several holidays throughout the year varying based on the region and the people's religion.


Traditionally, the Indian greeting is the 'Namaste' and is done with hands pressed, the palms should be touching and the fingers should point upwards, just in front of one's chest followed by a nod and a bow of the head.

Avoid shaking hands with women if you are a male unless the woman offers her hand for the shake. Commonly males will shake hands with males. It is also very common for the young people to refer you as 'Sir' or 'Madam' due to respect.

Religion and holidays:

There are several religions in India but Hinduism is the dominant one. Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs are also there. It is important to know each religions holidays and behaviours before appointments to avoid conflicts.

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