India offers a diversity of experiences that is unrivalled by most places. It invites you with a magical array of sights and sounds, striking colours and ancient cultures. Explore extraordinary Mughal palaces, magnificent Hindu temples, vibrant cityscapes and glistening sun-kissed beaches. Read these tips to ensure your safety in India as you travel. Luxuriate in private pools of tropical villas, unwind with a rejuvenating Ayurvedic massage and savour aromatic herbal teas while you take it all in.
If you’re undecided on taking the plunge to travel to India, these safety and cultural tips will help you have a wonderful, hassle-free vacation in this stunning land. Keep these cultural nuances and safety tips in mind when you visit Incredible India.
Safety and Cultural Nuances in India
If you’re going for a Bollywood movie, stand up during the national anthem.
When you meet new people, do so with hands folded in a namaste. A short nod of the head with folded hands will also do.
3. Be polite
When speaking to someone older than you, even staff, it’s considered polite to add the suffix, ji, after their names. For instance, if an elder’s name is Ashok, you can call him Ashokji.
4. Dress appropriately
When you’re visiting a temple or any holy site, it’s wise to dress appropriately. Avoid skimpy clothes as a mark of respect. If visiting a Sikh gurudwara or a mosque, cover your head with a scarf or handkerchief. Take off your footwear outside the place of worship.
5. Show respect
Also, when you’re visiting a temple, you might be given an offering or prasad (usually some flowers and a piece of sweets). Make sure you receive it with your right hand or both hands cupped together. Do not throw or discard the blessed food in front of others. It is seen as a sign of disrespect.
6. Speak local
While English is spoken widely in India, it’s always nice to learn a few phrases in the local language of the region. Some useful phrases in Hindi include dhanyawad (thank you), theek hai (okay), haan (yes) and nahi (no) and bahut achha hai (it’s very good). People will delight in your attempt.
7. Eat local
Be adventurous and try local cuisines. Indian food is rich in flavour and very unique. It is not always spicy as is the perception. Let your server know your spice tolerance in advance and they can alter dishes to suit your palate.
8. Use the concierge
Always book your travels with accredited, properly vetted travel agencies and car services. Our concierge team will be more than happy to take care of your requirements. Do not pay heed to touts on the street.
Apologise if you accidentally touch someone with your feet. Touching someone with your feet is considered a sign of disrespect in Indian culture.
10. See a festival
Try to time your visit to coincide with a local festival. Indians love festivals and celebrate them with much gusto. It’s a great way to experience the joy of local communities.
1. Drink tap water
Buy packaged water from any supermarket. Better still, carry a reusable bottle of water from your villa to avoid plastic waste.
2. Eat beef
Cows are considered holy in the Hindu religion. Eating beef is forbidden in most parts of the country. Often, buffalo meat is offered as a substitute. Indian mutton refers to goat meat and is quite delicious.
3. Drink everywhere
Smoking or drinking alcohol in public places is illegal. If you wish to smoke a cigarette or enjoy a drink, do so in the designated areas of your villa or licensed bars and restaurants. Consumption or possession of narcotic drugs is a highly punishable offence. Do not indulge in any of it.
4. Kiss in public
It’s best to avoid PDA (public displays of affection) if you’re with your loved one. India is a conservative society and PDAs are frowned upon.
5. Be careless
When travelling in crowded places, don’t leave your bags and wallets unattended. Always hold onto your wallet/bag and hold it close to your body.
Politics and religion can be very sensitive topics for Indians. It is best to steer clear of these subjects in social conversations.
If you find yourself in any situation that feels uncomfortable, it’s best to avoid going forward. Don’t accompany strangers to unknown places and don’t agree to watch over anybody’s bags.
8. Stick to a list
India is a treasure trove of hidden gems and unexplored places. Don’t stick to the touristy must-dos. Do your research, ask locals for recommendations and seek more unique experiences.
9. Venture out alone at night
Especially on foot. Ask the Elite Concierge to arrange for a car to ferry you wherever you wish to go.
10. Be too familiar
Don’t hug or offer a handshake to women unless they offer it first. A polite namaste is more respectful.
Finally, to truly savour India’s breathtaking beauty and culture, stay at our safe, kids-friendly and extraordinary villas. Plan your first visit to India with Elite Havens and get ready for a magical joyride.