5 Cultural Considerations for Traveling to India
Folks seem to love India or hate the place.
The reason why India feels polarizing; the place brings up your stuff, in many regards. People who had resisted their fears WILL face their fears, in India, while embracing, open folks tend to see the beauty of the place.
I enjoyed my stay there.
Today, I want to help you learn about the cultural considerations for traveling to India to ease your transition to this magical country.
1: India Is Conservative
India is a conservative culture.
Dress modestly. Cover up. Be polite and pleasant.
India is a conservative nation, largely. Man or woman, dressing in scant or revealing clothing draws attention to yourself. I recall seeing 3 Western girls in thong bikinis on the beach. 30 men stood a distance away, admiring their rumps. Funny scene, and past the staring, nothing untoward going on.
Of course, if you travel to another land and go against the cultural grain you will call attention to yourself.
So…..keep the bare skin to a minimum. Shorts are OK, as are T-shirts. Be conservative. Honor thy culture.
2: Wash Thy Hands and Watch Where You Eat and You Will Be Healthy
Many eateries in India offered me sanitary, hygienic conditions.
I also fell wicked ill after eating at 2 places. Minus a pizzeria – where it turns out, olive oil palettes were left out in the 107 degree Pondicherry temps for hours on end, I later observed – I’ve no idea where I contracted the giardia that nearly killed me. Or, the g leading to dehydration that nearly offed me.
Wash your hands like, a lot, in India. Keep clean. But in addition to keeping clean, only eat at places where you observe hygienic conditions. Or where you see sanitary mindfulness in action.
India is a developing land. If folks are not hygienic, understand that they do not understand. But understand that since some folks do not understand how to properly serve food without contaminating the grub, be hyper picky about your dining spots.
Shopping at the grocery store can help. Even though grocery goods may go bad sometimes, you will generally avoid falling ill by eating food you buy and prep.
3: Fun, Fascinating, Controlled Chaos
India appears to be chaotic. But the mayhem is highly controlled, meaning, the frenetic pace is average, ho-hum, and the way of life in many cities.
Observe the seeming chaos with awe. Enjoy it. Embrace it. If you want peace and quiet, head toward country settings. India is huge. You’ll find ’em.
4: Beggars Abound and Animal Suffering Is Present
Hey Westerners, hug your White Guilt!
All jokes aside, you will encounter folks who persistently ask for money in India. Begging is simply a way of life for a small number of folks in India.
Like anywhere on earth, most Indians work jobs or own businesses. A small percentage begs, but a small percentage of 1 billion people is still a helluva lot of people.
Open up to the experiences. Do not resist the emotions of:
that will arise as you see people without arms or without legs, or totally blind, or suffering lepers, begging you desperately for money or food.
As a rule, I tend to give money to people with severe physical disabilities and simply offer a smile and “No” nod to the able-bodied.
More Indians are spreading love to animals these days, as care organizations seem to be popping up regularly over there. With that in mind, I saw more animal suffering in India in terms of street dogs and cats compared to anywhere I have been.
No judgments of the people; just embrace the idea that you will see starving and dying dogs and cats from time to time in a nation where some human beings sit starving and dying on the street, too.
5: The People and Land Are Beautiful So Dive In!
India is not for shy, meek travelers.
The locals are incredibly generous, but since the culture is fairly conservative you may want to open your mouth, chat up folks and ask questions to facilitate the bonding process.
The people are beautiful, kind souls. Down home, friendly, really fun human beings, as I have known from all of the Indian blogging buddies I met over my decade online.
The scenery is stunning. From gorgeous tea plantations, to peaceful rice fields, to jaw-dropping ocean views, you have anything you could ever want in India.
Talk to people. Ask questions. Open up. Enjoy the richness that India has to offer you.