India is home to some of the most wonderful people in the world. It’s also rich with unique and diverse cultures, traditions, and festivals. Naturally, people from different corners of the world love traveling here and getting to know the locals. However, if you are planning to travel here yourself, then the following are some of the things you need to keep in mind:
- Learn the Lingo
Hindi is the most predominant language spoken in India, especially in North India. However, if you are traveling in South India, then you can converse with most people in English too.
It’s advised that you learn some of the most common words and phrases that are used in India to make your stay comfortable. The following are a few you need to remember:
- Haan: Yes
- Naa: No
- Kaise Ho?: How are You?
- Kitne ka h? How much is the price?
- Nahi lena: I don’t want it
- Khana kaha milega?: Where can I get food?
- Dhnyawad: Thank you
- Bhot acha hai: It’s very nice
- Dress Conservatively
There are certain social norms that you will need to follow when you are in India. For instance, you must avoid wearing skimpy clothes that can draw unwanted attention. Most women in India like to dress appropriately which is why you are also expected to wear proper dresses or other clothes that cover your legs and don’t have plunging necklines. That said, if you are visiting a metro city like Delhi, Mumbai, or Bangalore, then you may not have to worry a lot about your clothes as the people here are more open to other cultures and opinions.
- Be Prepared for a Cultural Shock
There are many things that you won’t find in India that easily. For instance, you won’t find alcohol in certain parts of the country, mainly those places that have religious significance or where the government has banned the sale of alcohol (Gujarat and Bihar, for instance). You will also not find casinos in most of India, so you may want to look for online roulette, poker, and other games that are available on mobile apps.
- Learn Haggling
Haggling is a common practice in India but it might be uncommon for foreign travelers. While the locals are aware of how the pricing of different goods is calculated and are able to quote the right prices, the foreigners are often provided with ridiculously high prices as some traders like to take advantage of uninformed travelers.
If you don’t want to buy overpriced goods and services, then it’s important that you do your homework and study the market that you are visiting beforehand. You can easily find guides on buying different goods in the top markets in India as the locals can provide you information on the right prices. So, you can check these details online before visiting.
- Watch What You Eat and Drink
Street food in India is simply the best. There is such a huge variety and the delicacies are ridiculously cheap. However, when you are traveling, then it’s best to avoid eating at small vendors and fast food joints. This is because you never know the kind of food standards these establishments are maintaining and their hygiene can also be questionable at times.
If you want don’t want to fall sick or suffer from the infamous Delhi belly, then you should only eat at reputed restaurants (you can check their reviews online). It’s also a good idea to drink only packaged water rather than the water served at the restaurants.
- Be Careful at Religious Places
Indians, in general, are quite religious. So, if you are visiting any of the most famous religious places, then you should understand how to carry yourself around. Since most people from western countries know little about Hinduism which is the most prevalent religion in India, it will help you do some homework and learn the customs. For instance, you are expected to leave your shoes/slippers out the temples before you enter. You may be new to ceremonies like “aartis”, so you may get some idea in advance of how you should act or engage in these kinds of events properly.
India is a country full of wonders and beautiful locations for tourists to explore. However, you can’t be too careful and it’s best to do some research in advance so that you can make your experience more enjoyable. Happy traveling!