Etiquette is the common manners of a culture. You must be very careful not to offend anyone with no intention or realisation that you have offended them. Learning these rules will help you bond more with the locals.
Nepal is a very friendly place, but if you are visiting Nepal, understanding the basic social etiquette can help make your trip better.
Elders are always shown great respect and treated more formally. ‘Namaste’ is the most preferred way of greeting. Join your hands together and say Namaste. Hugging people whom you are meeting for the first time is not appropriate.
Ask for permission before entering a Hindu temple. Taking photographs inside most temples is not permitted, therefore ask permission. Take off your shoes especially before entering a temple or while entering someone’s home.
Elders are called by their title but not by their first names. Addressing them by their names is normally considered rude.
Once someone has eaten from a plate, most Nepalis will not eat from it as it is considered impure (Jutho in Nepali). So be careful while sharing cutlery and water bottles.
Even if it is with your own partner, public displays of affection may be considered vulgar and obscene.
It is considered deeply disrespectful to step over any kind of representation of a deity, or any item used for worship. It is offensive to touch other people with your feet. Avoid stepping over someone’s outstretched legs too.
Don’t use your left hand for eating or passing food to others. This hand is considered to be used for personal ablutions. Wash your hands and mouth before dining.
Avoid swearing. Remember most city people do understand spoken English.
Hindus do not eat beef out of veneration for the cow. While it is usually okay to eat it in front of a Nepali, do not offer beef to them.
Have a fun Nepal trip!
photo credit: Meera Pankhania, Kaushal Subedi, Sanjay Hona