Below is a compilation of all the Hindu rules I have been experiencing, following or witnessing in India, especially in the Khajuraho house:
(1) You can't cut your nails or hair (no shaving) on Tuesday & Saturday (because those are Hanuman's days (the monkey-headed god).
(2) You MUST be showered in order to perform any religious practice, pray, or go to the temple. If you've had no shower you must be careful not to touch anyone praying, and you won't be served prasad (food offering from the temple or the ritual).
(3) At certain festivals you must not only be showered to attend puja (religious ceremonies, e.g. for Durga Puja during Navratri festival) but you must also take care that someone who already has had a shower takes your clean clothes to the bathroom for you - otherwise if you have touched your clothes before shower, you have "stained" them with your impure body and thus your clothes are impure...
(4) At certain festivals (e.g. Murki after Makar Sankranti) you must be showered otherwise you will not get food that day.
(5) You can't touch/help yourself with chapati and cooked food in the kitchen (because it's sacred) if you have had no shower and if you're from a different cast.
(6) You should be showered to cook chapati, and if you have had no shower you certainly can't cook chapati after having a bowel movement!
(7) You must be barefoot to go for a bowel movement because you have to rinse your feet after it - otherwise you're considered an untouchable and you can't go back in the house.
(8) You MUST shower, wash your hair and wash ALL the clothes you were wearing after cleaning the toilet. If on your way to the shower you walk on a rug you must clean that rug too, and if you touch anyone they must have a shower. And you must have taken your clean clothes to the bathroom BEFORE cleaning the toilet obviously.
(9) Women who have their periods are not allowed to go to temples.
(10) Unmarried girls/women are not allowed to watch the Durga puja at the end of Navratri Festival.
(11) A married woman can eat in her husband's plate and eat her husband's leftovers, but he won't eat in her plate or eat her leftovers. (A married woman addresses her husband formally whilst he addresses her informally.)
(12) A woman shares her husband's bed in her new (husband's) family after marriage, but whenever they visit her family she sleeps with the women and he sleeps with the men.
(13) A (married) woman never travels (by bus, train etc.) alone. If she wants to visit her parents' family either her husband takes her there or male members of her family (father, brothers, cousins...) come to pick her up.
(14) You shouldn't help yourself with a glass of water after you have eaten even if you've cleaned your hands because your mouth is dirty.
(15) If someone or something is on the floor and in your way, you mustn't walk over it (it's bad luck or a lack of respect); you should walk around it.
(16) If by inadvertence you touch something (e.g a book, an instrument, anything) or someone with your feet, you must apologise to it/him/her by touching it/him/her and then taking your hand to your heart - the same respect gesture you do to your elders, your teachers, etc.
(17) If you have henna on your body you are considered as an untouchable - so if you have applied henna on your hair or on your hands and you're waiting to wash it away you aren't allowed to eat etc.
(18) If a cat crosses the road in front of you when you're driving, you have to stop your vehicle and wait until another vehicle crosses your way to carry on your way.
I shall complete this list when I remember or come up with other rules.
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.