Visiting India can be a culture shock for some, but it is a beautiful country with plenty for those looking for spiritual and personal growth.
India is a very diverse and (for many first-time visitors) very tense country. India is a country that many people feel strong emotions for when they visit. Few people answer “meh” to a question about what India was like – most people love it, hate it, or a mixture of the two. It is a country of superlatives, colors, life and paying tourist prices.
India is popular with hippies for being “spiritual” and for learning yoga. Many Westerners who have converted to a westernized form of Buddhism enjoy India. But India is diverse and can appeal to a very wide audience and everyone should visit.
What to expect
Visiting India is not like visiting European countries, East Asia or even Southeast Asian countries. It is a country of extremes. One will be greeted with so much life – there may be celebratory processions descending the streets with all the colors. Random neighborhood streets can be blocked off for a wedding.
- To be open minded: Being open-minded is important in India to see and understand a completely different way of life and mentality
- Vegan: India is a vegan paradise
In the main tourist areas, tourists can expect to be approached by vendors (often these vendors pretend to be interested only in the tourist). Often the question? “How long have you been in India? is asked to assess how green or familiar the tourist is with India and how much he can inflate the price.
Point: Be careful not to get scammed
- Travel agency: Many Delhi Travel Agencies Are Scams – Look For Reputable Agencies With Reviews
No matter if one has a good or a bad time in India, it will be an experience that one will always remember.
Is India safe?
The short answer is – it’s complicated. For men, India can be considered safe, women are advised to be extra careful. There may be groping, long uncomfortable stares and other instances – these are more likely if the visitor has blue eyes and long blond hair. According to some reports, official statistics may be well underestimated in India.
- Women’s Safety: Women should take precautions in India
Be careful walking around certain areas at night, especially after drinking. At night – and especially after drinking, it’s always a good idea to stay in a group and take a taxi.
- Taxi: Take a taxi if you’re drinking at night
But if reasonable precautions are taken, India should be safe. The most common problem will be pick-pocketing and other theft (especially in places like central New Delhi where all the other tourists are and there are heavy crowds).
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One is almost guaranteed to pay an absurdly high “tourist” price. Just try to be smart and don’t pay all the time.
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Is India poor?
India is classified as a middle-income developing mixed economy and has a nominal GDP per capita of $2,395. But that grossly hides the sheer inequality in the nation. Many people will work for 2 or 3 dollars a day and abject poverty is everywhere.
You can expect to see beggars (like in any country) and people sleeping on the streets with nothing to their name. There are certain parts of India that should be researched before visiting.
India also has a growing middle class and a wealthy upper class. There you will find beautiful neighborhoods, wealth and development.
How much time do I need in India?
How long does it take to see all of India – one lifetime should be enough. But joking aside, India is a very intense and diverse country. If we only leave for a few weeks, we can only retain a few highlights. There is no limit to the time spent in India.
In two weeks, one can visit New Dehli, Amritsar (and visit the holy Sikh Golden Temple there), Jaipur (with its many iconic forts and palaces), Agram (home of the Taj Mahal) and Varanasi (where bodies are cremated by the river Ganges). Or one can visit the south and explore the more developed beach town of Goa.
India is a very different and rewarding country with a very different mentality. After a culture shock here, you may not have a culture shock elsewhere.
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