TNN | May 2, 2013,
The annual meeting is being held in the India-Expo mart in Greater Noida and several of the delegates from nearly 67 countries are staying in hotels in Noida, Greater Noida and Delhi. The meeting will discuss issues related to the global economy, Asian challenges and development.
The advisory posted on the general information section on the ADB website says Indians are very conservative about dress and advises women to dress modestly, with legs covered.
“Trousers are acceptable, but shorts and short skirts are offensive to many. If you want to keep cool in the Indian sun, cotton clothing is essential along with a comfortable pair of open sandals,” says the advisory.
Clicking on the ‘read more’ section takes one to a website TravelIndia.com, which elaborates on what is acceptable and what should be avoided while travelling in India. Among other subjects, it covers taking pictures, visiting religious places, eating, concept of time, tipping, siesta and common faux pas.
It also has a special section for gay travellers. “While travelling in India you might see a lot of men holding hands. This should not be taken as a sign of their sexual orientation, in all probability they are not gay,” the advisory says.
“Most gays in India are of the closet kind as Indian society does not accept homosexuality. Declaring yourself to be a homosexual is a sure way of being disowned by family and friends.”
It goes on to say that in big cities and amongst the higher strata of the society, homosexuality is not considered abnormal behaviour any more but cautions about showing affection in public.
“You would be better off avoiding public displays of affection such as cuddling and kissing each other in public (not just for gays). Homosexual relations between men are illegal in India and the penalty according to the Indian Penal Code is seven years rigorous imprisonment. However, had this law been enforced strictly, the Indian prisons would have been overflowing by now,” the website says.
In the section titled: “Common Faux Pas”, it says that kissing and embracing are regarded in India as part of sex and asks travellers to not engage in these activities. “It is not even a good idea for couples to hold hands,” it says.
The advisory on eating says that when eating or drinking, your lips should not touch other people’s food – “jutha or sullied food is strictly taboo.”
“Don’t, for example, take a bite out of a chapati and pass it on. When drinking out of a cup or bottle to be shared with others, don’t let it touch your lips, but rather pour it directly into your mouth. This custom also protects you from things like hepatitis. It is customary to wash your hands before and after eating,” the advisory says.