BackpackingSeries Hindu Swastika

Avoid These Faux Pas in India

What should I not do when visiting India?

In addition to the usual faux pas such as disrespecting religions or indulging in public display of affection, here are few more that might might tick people off and land you in arguments. Be careful about the following while in India and if possible, share it with friends and fellow travellers.

  • Please do not tag Swastika as a Nazi symbol. Swastika is an ancient symbol of well-being and continues to be used extensively in India. You would find it on vehicles, on tonsured heads of young boys, on doors and walls of homes, and on the entrances of Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples. This hand-traced symbol is also a prime motif during Indian festivals such as Deepavali, the festival of lights.

Edit: Swastika is pre-Aryan, dates back 11,000 years http://timesofindia.indiatimes.c… via @timesofindia

If possible, upon your return, talk to people in your social circles, spread awareness and help reduce vandalism to Indian temples in your country.

  • Please do not stereotype. In recent times, India has been portrayed as an unfriendly country for women. Violence against women is deplorable. Period. It would be helpful to do some homework to know which are the most unsafe places in the world for women. Here is rape statistics by country (based on UNODC data).Violence against women is a global problem. So when you visit India, take measures to be safe, just as you would elsewhere. But, please drop that bias.


Please do not seek value in someone’s misery. Though most young fellow travellers whom I come across, sport a diversified view of the places they visit in India, few tourists perhaps continue to seek value in poverty porn. They might click and post misery pictures on social media that give rise to questions such as this one – Why do all foreigners from west, while visiting India, try their best to click the worst part of India?. Guard that reputation by requesting fellow travellers to stop this practice.

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