If you are traveling to India for the first time, you’ll for sure feel a little bit overwhelmed, confused and excited at the same time. Adjusting to the culture shock, frenetic energy and diversity will take some time. But worry not, once you get used to the Indian ways, you’ll develop a special bond with this place that will urge you to come back again and again.
If you are traveling to India, here are a few facts about India to keep in mind before and while you are on your trip:
EXPLORE A PLACE AND TAKE YOUR TIME
When you come to India, don’t hop from one place to another too soon because then you wouldn’t really get a feel of the real India and experience the place deeply.
Take your time with a place, stay there for a few days, visit different sites in that place, get to know the local people and traditions of the place, and relish the experience.
For example, if you go to Kerala in South India, then stay there for more than at least 9 -10 days, explore the local food and culture, different festivals.
Many top-notch yoga retreats in India are also held in Kerala. If you want to experience the true spiritual gift of India that is yoga and meditation, you can attend yoga and ayurveda retreat or a yoga teacher training course in one of the best ayurveda resort in Kerala.
EXPLORE MORE THAN JUST THE CITIES
The real beauty of India lies not only in the cities of India but way beyond the cities in the natural world.
The forests, the majestic mountains, the motherly rivers, the gorgeous oceans, and pristine beaches, and the divine landscapes are sure to give you an experience of a lifetime.
Travel to the Himalayas in north India, the beaches of south India, the Western Ghats, the Mangrove forests in the east and experience a deeper connection with Mother Nature.
In most parts of India, the dress code is Indian sarees and traditional Indian clothes though many people in the cities wear western clothing as well.
Please wear clothes that cover your body appropriately, especially when you are visiting the rural parts of India, temples, mosques, etc.
It is also a custom in India to open your shoes outside while visiting a temple or a religious site.
RESPECT THE INDIAN PEOPLE AND THE INDIAN CULTURE
Most Indians are very warm-hearted, and this is truly one of the best qualities of Indian people. They are welcoming and love it when people from all over the world come to visit and explore the beautiful and divine land of India.
Be respectful to the Indian people and the Indian culture.
The Indian people will greet you with warmth and acceptance. Make sure you can be humble and return the same.
BE PREPARED TO EXPLORE DEEP SPIRITUALITY
One of the most well-known facts about India is that it is the origin of yoga and meditation. Many top-level yoga and meditation schools offer yoga retreats in India.
If you genuinely want to feel the deep spiritual connection of India and want to learn the ancient art of yoga and meditation, then you can enroll yourself in one of the best yoga schools in India.
Some of the best yoga schools of India are in Kerala in South India and Rishikesh in North Indian at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
Keeping an open mind is a great way to travel the land of India as you will see things that you did not expect to, like children asking for food while you are stuck in traffic.
Keeping an open and accepting mind will help you move through some of the things you did not expect with grace and ease.
Avoid public displays of affection towards your partners, as this is not a common thing in the culture of India. Avoid kissing and excess public display of affection as a respect for the Indian culture
TRY OUT THE INDIAN FOOD
You will find all kinds of foods, dishes, and cuisines in India that will relish your taste buds. You can try out the North Indian dishes, the south Indian dishes, and the local food of whichever place you travel to.
Be mindful of the water you are consuming and make sure it is purified. Most places have clean water to drink, but it is advised to be mindful.
GET A SIM CARD
Getting a sim card would be helpful as you can use the internet to have easy navigation through the landscapes of India. A sim card will allow you to navigate google maps, best restaurants, and make calls to your home country.
Though only Indians can buy a SIM card in India, you can ask your trusted Indian friend to buy you a SIM card. There are also special provisions for sim cards for foreigners.
UNDERSTAND THE UNSPOKEN INDIAN LANGUAGE
Indians communicate a lot without words and just simple hand gestures or head nods. The classic Indian head nod is one of the most common communication methods in India. Usually, it means yes or no, depending on the context.
Understanding the unspoken Indian language can make your trip interesting and can be helpful too.
BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS
While this advice applies to many places around the globe, it is always a good idea to keep your cash, cards, and belongings safe, especially in the populated cities of India.
FIND A TRUSTWORTHY INDIAN FRIEND WHO CAN GUIDE YOU
It is also wise to have a trustworthy Indian friend who can help you out in a foreign country and guide you in case you are confused about something.
Knowing someone trustworthy and intelligent in India who can help out is also an advantage.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Do a good in-depth research of India and the places that call out to you the most in India. India is a vast country, and it is not advised to cover the whole country in one short trip.
Do your research and see which places you feel the most drawn to and then make a detailed itinerary of your trip.
KEEP YOUR CALM
Scamsters, touts, etc. often target foreigners to make some quick bucks by simply luring them with good deals which are not in fact, good deals. You’ll come across different people (agents, cab drivers, etc.) who’ll insist on giving you the best deals (may be hotel charges, tour packages). But don’t lose your head over these things. Simply keep your calm and try to show them that you know better. Slowly you’ll learn the tricks to handle such people.
DON’T HESITATE TO BARGAIN
Indian markets are colorful and have some beautiful things like leather bags, clothes, artifacts, and so much more that you can buy. However, some shop keepers give a higher price to those travelling from another country.
Don’t be afraid to bargain and get a reasonable price for your purchase. Sharpen your bargaining skills and have fun with it.