India is a large country with multitude of cultures, numerous languages and dialects, diverse geography, climate and religions. This land appears mysterious and spiritual to most people. The amalgamation of its diversities and its rich history attracts millions of people from around the world.
The element of diversity can be found in many layers of the Indian society. Here wealth exists amid abject poverty, highest level of education along with illiteracy and rationality amid irrationality or superstition. The abundance of variances within India is enough to bewilder anyone.
Below are given 5 major points which a person should be well acquainted with while taking an Indian tour:
Culture and Values – Being a country rooted in its culture and religion, Indians have different ways of living, behaving, dressing up, greeting and so on. It will be a good idea to get oneself familiar with the culture of India beforehand through books, documentaries and even news related to the country.
For example, when going to a temple it’s very important to dress properly; remove your shoes, and at some places one may need to cover one’s head.
Though India is changing and adopting western ways of life, public displays of affection is something which still evokes strong reactions. So the mode of behavior needs to be amended as per the Indian standards.
Fascination for non-Indians – Staring at people is not really considered impolite in Indian context. It’s just a way they react when they see something uncommon around them. So they may keep looking or some strangers may even ask some questions which can be perceived wrongly by the visitor. But generally it is not meant to offend and should be taken in the right spirit.
Women - Foreign people are noticed and stared at almost all parts of India, but it’s the foreign women who are more susceptible. The limited understanding of the masses leads to formation of wrong perceptions related to the character and preferences of the western women.
Thus it is better to be a little conservative while dressing up; short and revealing clothes are a complete no. Best thing would be to observe the local women on how they conduct and dress in public.
Reservation - Traveling through train is a good way of seeing the country and knowing its people. Being a cheaper means of transport train tickets are not easily available. Hence it is strongly recommended to book it in advance. It’s advisable to even reserve tickets of flights in advance to avail discounts which many airlines offer on advance bookings.
And lastly and most importantly, try to make prior bookings for accommodation as one may get fleeced by the touts and end up in an expensive but inferior place.
Be careful of touts - There are some people who are always on the lookout for persons who are less familiar with an area or its manners. They can misguide, overcharge, and on the whole dampen the complete experience of traveling. Thus the best way is to stay away from them and trust the local government’s tourist departments, certified guides and trusted blogs and websites for awareness and support.
Also, being an outsider a person is more likely to be overcharged by shopkeepers, by taxi or auto drivers. In such circumstances having a trustworthy local acquaintance or friend would turn out to be a boon.
Plan your trip – India is a large country and has plenty of places which are worth a visit. One should plan one’s trip logically and reasonably, keeping in mind one’s time, budget and preferences.
India is a country of festivals, colors, rituals, customs, dance, music and much more. Each visitor needs to find out what India means to him/her. And through bypassing all seeming oddities one would surely be able to do it.