10 Things That You Must Read And Know About India Before The Touchdown
India has always been known as a land of snake charmers and mystical wonders. It is not entirely untrue but it would be a mistake to create this as the identity of a country that is beautiful from the inside; this has been told and retold by those that have visited and lived in India for some time.
It is always important to travel to a new destination with an open mind and expect to be surprised. Let the country unfold itself before you as you travel between its different locations. That would be the best way to travel in India, and not feel disappointed.
But there are a few things that you must be aware of to make the trip a more fulfilling one.
The Geography And Places To Visit
India doesn’t start or end with New Delhi and Mumbai – the two most important destinations that tourists and travellers seem to memorize. Ask yourself what exactly are you looking for.
There is a vast land of untapped beauty in Northeast India amidst the high-altitude destinations of Arunachala Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
There is a blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage that is beautifully preserved here.
Similarly, if you are looking for architecture and the history behind it, do travel to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh in south India, Odisha in the east, Ajanta, and Ellora in Maharashtra in the west, and the beautiful heritages in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in central India.
There are more than 22 official languages with several dialects.
You can use English easily in most places even though the responses in English may be a little interrupted and broken. Hindi is the second most used language but not in the whole country.
No Dress Codes
Contrary to popular beliefs you do not need to cover your head, neck area, or shoulders in India if you are a woman and traveling alone. There are no laws governing your dress code in this largest democratic country in the world.
Some women cover their heads when they enter a religious place of worship, like a temple or a Gurudwara which is a holy place for Sikhs in India.
If you find women covering their heads it could be because of their individual religious customs or to save themselves from the heat and pollution.
Owing to its geography, you are bound to experience differences in weather conditions when traveling through the length and breadth of India.
Be prepared for hot and humid weather if you are traveling between April and July especially.
July onwards there is the onset of the monsoons or the rainy season in India that comes in occasional to heavy downpours at times.
There are occasional breezes that may provide relief but mostly after sunset.
Packing a lot of cotton clothes would be a great idea. If you travel to a colder destination you will be able to pick a few warmer garments here as well.
Cash And Cards
Credit and international debit cards are widely used across stores and shops in almost every destination. But it would be wise to carry a little bit of cash with you. You may have to travel in a local transport where only cash will be accepted.
Transport And Travel
Be prepared for a surprise of your life when you travel within the limits of cities and towns of India. Crowded buses will be a common feature so you may avoid them.
You will find cute auto-rickshaws and local cabs too.
There are online cab services available in most parts of the country.
Metro services are available in a few cities only, namely, Kolkata, New Delhi, and Mumbai, though the last one is still in the process and incomplete.
When you are in India you will see a lot of beggars on the streets. It is natural to feel bad for these people and reach out to help them. It would be advisable to ignore and walk past without giving them a penny.
You may buy something and hand them out to children in case they are asking for money but avoid handing out money.
There is an organized system that needs to be eradicated and it’s still a huge volume of tasks. Handing out money to these people is a form of encouragement that you do not need to be a part of.
Foreigners are very often an easy target for scammers trying to deceive them with lucrative offers. This could be anything from an offer to being a tourist guide at a budget price or even an attempt to sell something.
The safest thing to do would be to steer clear of any such offers that ask you to go somewhere or visit a popular temple. Keep an open eye and do not trust any local on the street who comes up with an offer.
You will see a lot of religious and cultural activity when in India. Enjoy your time if you are participating in any such event but expect a lot of things that may appear weird to you. You are not the only or the first one to think so.
These are centuries-old customs that are still practiced in the country by many.
The Temples Of India
You will find some of the most beautiful architecture in these structures that are old by centuries. As a lover of art and history, you are welcome to enter these premises and enjoy the artistic beauty.
It has nothing to do with your religious beliefs and you will not be expected to be a part of any religious ceremony here as well.
Hampi in the Indian state of Karnataka is one such must-watch heritage place. Check out the Sun Temple at Konark in Odisha and you will be pleasantly surprised by the architectural wonder.
Accept The Mess
When in India you have to accept the mess around. There are clean places and then there are places where mayhem rules.
Traffic roadblocks and honking vehicles may surprise you but that’s a basic feature in India. You will find quieter places and calm but there is noise as well.
Not all Indians are vegetarians though many of them are. They do love their meat and vegetables on their plates with equal measures.
Keep an open mind when it comes to food for the Indians love to eat. There is a culinary wonder available on every corner. It may be a tad bit spicy at times but that can be adjusted upon request.
The north, the south, the east, and the west of India have a huge store of vegetarian and nonvegetarian delights beyond the kababs and the tandoori.
Make sure you enjoy some of the street food too while in India even though it may not be hugely advisable if you are a hygiene freak.
Most people here are warm and kind. There is a feeling of hospitality that all Indians shower on their guests and is a part of their cultural upbringing. You can be a little forthcoming too when you mingle among them.
It is always important to be careful when you visit a place for the first time and this is not just India exclusive.
A Positive Final Note
India will surprise you beyond your expectations. You just need to be aware of a few things to be aware of but not be scared about them, here’s hoping that you enjoy your stay in India.