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A Brief Look at India’s Culture, Custom, Etiquette and Interesting Facts

Updated on September 7, 2014

India is a country that has a long history which is interesting to learn. It is a fascinating country with lots of good things to learn including facts many didn’t know about India, their customs and culture which some are funny and others worth knowing about.

India is the seventh largest country in the world. It occupies an area of 32, 87, 590sq km. When compared to Pakistan, it is four times larger than Pakistan, eight times larger than Japan and 12 times larger than United Kingdom. It is bordered to the west by Pakistan, to the north-east by Nepal and Bhutan, and to the east by Bangladesh and Burma.

The capital city of India is New Delhi. The country has 28 states each having its own official language though the national languages are Hindi and English. The official languages spoken in this country are 28 and an estimated 400 languages are spoken in India.

India is the second-largest country in the world in terms of population holding a population capacity of 1,065,070,607 as of 2004 estimation.

The main religion in India is Hindu at 81.3% followed by Islam at 12%. Christianity holds at 2.3% while Sikh is at 1.9%. Jain, Budhisim and Parsi combined form the rest of the percentage at 2.5% as per 2005 estimation.

Culture, Customs and Etiquette in India

  • If you happen to visit a friend or family in India and you are invited for a meal, you can bring along a gift if you want though it is not necessary.
  • During funeral do not give white or frangipani flowers. However, when you wrap gifts, the most valued colors are green, yellow and red since they regard them as lucky colors.
  • When a man presents a gift it should be regarded as having come from him and his wife or mother/sister or another female relative. It simply means, never say that gift came from you (male person) only.
  • When the recipient of the gift receives it, it is not opened immediately. It is opened later. Therefore, do not expect the gift to be opened there and then.

Serangoon Road, Little India of Singapore
Serangoon Road, Little India of Singapore | Source
  • It is known Americans and British people are punctual. Indians as is the case with Africans are not punctual. Nevertheless, they expect you to be punctual especially if you are a foreigner.
  • When you enter an Indian house, you should take off your shoes, and you need to be modestly and conservatively dressed.
  • If the host asks you whether you would like a cup of tea, coffee or snack, at the first offer, you should turn it off politely. You will be asked again, and again, and possibly again as you continue to politely decline the offer. It is a protocol to turn down the first invitation to a cup of tea or coffee.
  • What happens when you have taken off your shoes, don’t rush to sit to any chair your eyes has seen. You should wait to be directed where to sit.
  • In a gathering in the house, it is the guest of honor who is served first followed by men then children. Women sit down to eat when they have served everyone. Don’t consider it an insult when you are told to wash your hands before you eat the meal and after finishing your meal.

  • Most of Indian foods are eaten using fingers.
  • You should use your right hand when eating whether you are using your fingers or utensils.
  • You should expect to be served food or to do it yourself.
  • Leaving some food in the plate indicates that you are satisfied and don’t want additional. Nonetheless, if your plate is empty, it means you are not satisfied - you are still hungry. Expect additional food or if it is self-service the host will insist you add more food to your plate.
  • Normally, Muslims don’t drink alcohol or eat pork while Hindus do not eat beef. Also, Sikhs do not eat beef. Many of Indians are vegetarians though chicken, lamb and fish are the most commonly eaten meat.
  • In a group about to disperse, each person is supposed to bid farewell individually and not bid farewell to the whole group.
  • Men shake hands with men, and women with women. However, due to religious beliefs it’s rare to see men shaking hands with women.

 city guwahati assam india night urban
city guwahati assam india night urban | Source

Interesting facts about India

  • Many of these interesting facts are going to baffle many people. Read on to find out:
  • India is the only country that has broken the history record of any country never to have ruled any other country for nearly 1,000 years.
  • Many may find it hard to believe but India is the largest democratic country in the world than U.S.A.
  • The oldest city in the world is Varanasi which to date is still inhabited.
  • India holds the first university to ever have been established in 700 B.C. in Takshashila.
  • Also, India holds the record of having the first school of medicine established in the country 2,500 years ago which is known as Ayurveda.

  • Chess, a game which requires a lot of thinking before playing or taking the next step to play was invented in India.
  • This is a new fact to many - India is the largest producer of milk in the world.
  • The largest employer in the world is India Railway System which has employed over one million people.
  • India holds the second position after U.S.A when it comes to the largest pool of software developers and is among the three countries - U.S.A and Japan - which manufacture supercomputers.
  • India has a satellite in space. It was not left out of the game.

Ancient India's Contributions to the World (Full Documentary)

  • The number, decimal and place value system were invented or developed in India.
  • Before the European mathematics was invented, Pythagorean Theorem had been invented in India by Budhayana in 6th century.
  • This will astonish many but is true that India is the largest English speaking country in the world than U.S.A or U.K despite the fact it is not a native language.
  • Lastly, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world is China with India coming in at the second position.


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    • Ben716 profile image

      Alianess Benny Njuguna 2 years ago from Kenya

      You are welcome, and thank you for dropping in to read

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 2 years ago

      Thank you for a lot of interesting facts. Thumbs up!