Do’s and Don’ts in Nepal
“Atithi Devo Bhava – Guests are God” is one of the major cultural and religious values of Nepalese people. Travelers feel homely during their stay in Nepal, especially when you encounter the locals. There are cultural differences everywhere in the world; similar is in case of Nepal. Nepal being a country of multilingual, religious and cultural diversities, beliefs differs accordingly. You should follow and keep in mind about the social values and local belief during your travel to any region of the country.
- To express your gesture of respect and gratitude, use both of your hands rather than one when giving or receiving something.
- Use extended hand to indicate any sacred object or place instead of a single finger.
- Avoid touching women or holy men. Generally, Nepalese women do not shake hands to greet. Namaste is widely preferred in Nepal by joining the palms of both hands and placing just at the level of chest.
- Eating with left hand is considered uncivilized act.
- Wearing shorter dresses, especially by ladies is considered act of provocation. You must be careful about it.
- Bathing without clothes or open space is considered bad in Nepal.
- Beef is not allowed to eat in both Buddhist and Hindu communities. Cows are sacred in Nepal.
- Don’t put your feet in any holy places and sacred points.
- Some Hindu temples strictly prohibit entering of non-Hindu people. So, take permission first.
- It is not allowed to enter one’s home, temple or monastery with shoes (with leather items in Hindu temples). Avoid smoking and wearing a shorter dress in religious settings.
- Touching dogs especially on the way to shrines is considered impure. Generally, Nepalese do not allow dogs in kitchen. Foods touched by dogs may not be accepted.
- It is better not to touch offerings or persons when they are on way to shrines, especially if you are non-Hindu.
- Don’t offer food to Nepalese after tasting it, nor eat from a common pot. And, avoid touching a shared drinking vessel with your lips
Encircling Hindu and Buddhist shrines clockwise is believed get divine power transferred to oneself. Do not go anticlockwise.
- Whenever you encounter a stone wall covered with Tibetan inscriptions, Mane or Chhorten, do the same. Walk past with the wall on your right and don’t take any of the stones.
- Don’t give money to any beggars seen at the street.
- Don’t take photographs of locals, holy shrines & temples unless you get their consent.