India is a great country with lots to offer. The people are friendly and hospitable. Markets are vibrant and alive. Palaces, forts and temples are intricately designed and carved. Blending old world charm with the modern, you will have a good time embracing India’s colourful life and its vivid details if you just note the following tips.
1. Posing for photos
If you are a woman, don’t pose for or smile at local men who ask you to let them take a photo of you, as my local friend told me these men do disgusting things with it. A friend was helping to take a photo of me, but when my male friend who understood the local language suddenly joined me and slung his arm around me, all the local men’s cameras lowered.
2. Group of men and women travellers
When travelling in a group, women should try to walk amid the men. When our group of 20 walked into a temple, the local men who were hanging around converged and surrounded us. The local men and us were walking like a cell; the locals were the cytoplasm and we were the nucleus. The men were mostly curious but my female friend who was at the edge of our nucleus was groped by one of them.
3. Water for drinking
Only drink international brands of bottled water as their tap water, even after boiling, will not be suitable for non-locals. I have heard of someone getting sick from drinking a non-international brand of bottled water, so choose your bottled water wisely.
Since their tap water is not suitable for foreigners to consume, it makes sense to also avoid ice right?
5. Water for washing of face and brushing of teeth
Use bottled water for the cleaning of your face and teeth as you definitely won’t want their tap water anywhere near your eyes, nose and mouth.
6. Water for bathing
If you are travelling New Delhi-Jaipur-Agra-New Delhi like I did, note that the tap water has a tinge of yellow at New Delhi, slightly more yellow at Jaipur and much more yellow at Agra. Hence, you may either bathe with bottled water or do as I did, bathe at New Delhi and Jaipur and not at Agra. Thank God it was the cold season when I went, so I didn’t have to bathe every day.
7. Street food and anything raw
Stay away from street food and raw food, and you will have less risk of getting infected with unwelcome bacteria.
8. Children at Taj Mahal
The local children at Taj Mahal are pickpockets trained and supervised by gangs and they are very good at what they do, so stay away from them and you should be fine.
9. Sense of personal space
Different countries have different cultures and one of its manifestations is the sense of personal space. Don’t be upset when people come really close to you in India as Indians’ distance for personal space is lower in general. However, you should always stay alert in such circumstance.
There is more to India than Taj Mahal. Read up on Amber Fort in Jaipur, the Pink City.