Guest Post: Travel Tips For Your First Visit To India by Rohit Agarwal
Most of the first time travelers have described India as a ‘Cultural Shock’ and being an Indian I cannot help but agree that for a first time visitor from an entirely different culture it can be a bit of a nuisance to fit in. India is a home to various cultures which the region has accumulated from an ancient history of harboring various civilizations and races. Hinduism and Islam are the primary religions that have influenced the Indian culture and many customs and mannerisms are required to be followed while traveling here. Here are some quick tips you need to keep in mind on your first visit to India.
1. Avoid Over-exhaustion
Most of the important cities that you would visit might have a huge number of attractions. It is quit3 common for most tourists to get lost amidst the vivid and colorful culture and festivities. Do not try to cover as many attractions in less time. It is not only tiring but can result in an easy burn-out and can totally ruin the trip for you. Take a Taxi to cover long distances and try to avoid public transport as those can often be immensely crowded.
2. Watch What You Eat and Drink
In India, tap water is not drinking water. Make sure you buy packaged water for consumption and make sure you read the labels properly. Getting an upset stomach or what most tourist refer to as ‘Delhi Belly’ owing to the spicy and rich cuisines are something not many tourists are familiar with. Many festivals like Holi encourage the legal use of Cannabis (Bhang) mixed in an Indian milkshake called Thandaai, so be careful. Avoid regular eating at street side vendors and never accept any eatables from a stranger.
3. Dress Modestly
This tip is for the ladies out there who are planning to visit India. Modest dressing has been one of the prime cultural differences that define Indian Culture. Avoid wearing any ill fitting clothing and keep skin show to a bare minimum. One needs to take care of the important traditions while visiting the religious places as the situations can escalate quickly when it comes to religion and the associated sentiments in India. Covering your legs and majority of your arms is important while getting around and removing of shoes at religious places like temples and mosques is essential.
4. Abandon Your Idea Of Personal Space
Being the most populous democracy in the world, most Indian towns would be bustling with people. The popular tourist cities like Delhi and Mumbai are immensely populated and getting around the town might involve walking amidst huge swarms of people. While travelling in public transport facilities like buses and trains can be a tough task as most public transport in India are overcrowded and are usually loaded above their seating capacities. Nevertheless, it is an experience in itself that many tourists try on their visit so if you choose to do it then make sure you’re ready for the challenge.
5. Be Ready To Feel The Indian Dirt
Indian towns are usually crowded and the streets are dusty. To many tourists getting their hands or feet dirty can sound revolting many times but if you want to experience the rich culture, this is a minor hurdle that you might want to overcome. Carrying a pack of tissues and hand sanitizer is advisable. Wearing shoes that are comfortable to walk in are advisable. During monsoons the streets can become really dirty and water logging is quiet common so wear clothes accordingly. The towns can be really noisy as well with a lot of aggressive vendors following you around. Be careful whom you approach and stay away from overly crowded places.
6. Keeping Cool But Staying Alert
It is not uncommon for tourist to be scammed in India. So make sure you keep you cool during most situations and do not get into easy conversations with people who approach you. The emergency number in India is 100, so make sure you keep a cell phone handy. The beggars in the streets and traffic signals are often frustrating, so keeping a cool head and ignoring them is the best option. Keeping an iPod or a portable music player is advisable as you can easily avoid the nagging beggars and vendors and keep them at bay.
A trip to India can often churn one’s guts as the social and cultural differences are often seen as a major obstacle to most first visitors. The aforementioned tips are easy to follow and will guarantee that you easy overcome the minor troubles and ensure a soulful trip that India is.