India is one of the most culturally diverse lands across the globe.
With over 22 official languages and at least seven main religions, the country has much to offer in terms of diversity and culture. There are over a million places of worship in the country that tourists flock to each year.
India has one of the largest populations in the world. As such, planning a trip there can be overwhelming. Luckily tourists can join several India tours when visiting the country.
India is a beautiful country and houses some of the world’s most marvelous sites and architecture. The country should be on the bucket list of any seasoned traveler. However, when visiting any country for the first time, there are certain things that you should familiarize yourself with. To help you plan a worry-free trip, we have created a short guide for first-time visitors to India.
Handling Your Travel Documents
A general rule of thumb when traveling to any country is to have several copies of important documents. This can include your passport, identity card, visa, and proof of your accommodation. It is always a good practice to keep a copy in each of your bags and a digital copy in case of an emergency. Emergencies such as minor car accident or food poisoning is a possibility. Therefore, having documents to verify your identity will help. As an added precaution, knowing the location of your country’s embassy or its contact information is beneficial.
India is a warm country all year round, with average temperatures of around 25.93 degrees Celsius. With one of the world’s highest populations, major cities such as Mumbai and Delhi can get busy and overcrowded. This can add to the already humid temperatures. Therefore, drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated when exploring the city is beneficial. When traveling to any country, there is no guarantee that the water will not affect you. For this reason, many travelers opt for only drinking bottled water.
Be Cautious About the Dress Code
The citizens of India follow a modest and conservative culture. Despite the warm temperatures, it is very unlikely that you will find citizens wearing short dresses or revealing clothing. Following their dress code clearly shows that you acknowledge and respect their culture. This will include wearing long pants and shirts that cover your shoulders when exploring the city. Additionally, leaving your shoes outside when entering an Indian home or removing your shoes when entering places of worship will be seen as a sign of respect for the Indian religion and culture.
Be Aware of the Cultural Differences
When entering India, know that you are about to witness an incredible country, very different than yours, especially if you are coming from Europe or the States. Be sure to respect these differences and emerge yourself in this new culture, even if just for a few days.
For the most part, India is a relatively safe country. However, it is best to exercise caution when exploring the city. Petty theft, pickpockets, and scams are somewhat of an issue in India. Generally, foreigners are seen as soft targets as they don’t know the country quite well or understand the native language. A few guidelines that you can follow include:
- Don’t walk in the street alone, especially at night.
- Keep your valuables hidden or close to you when exploring busy areas
- Keep your bag close to you in public places such as shopping centers and restaurants
- Try to avoid using ATMs in public
Adhere to the Rules in Certain Public Places
In India, certain public places have strict rules and regulations. The country has places of worship and public transport that only women can enter. Similarly, some temples, such as the Lord Kartikeya Temple, prohibit the entry of women, while others separate men and women. In extreme cases, you can be issued a fine or arrested if you aren’t careful. Therefore, when visiting India, it is crucial to be aware of the rules of the public spaces that you are entering.
Required Vaccines and Medical Clearance
When traveling to any country, it is vital to be vaccinated against certain illnesses. This holds particularly true due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before visiting India, you should get a series of immunizations, including vaccines for diseases such as typhoid, tetanus, and polio. If you are unsure what medication and vaccines you need, it will be best to visit a medical doctor at least a month before your trip. In India, air pollution is a serious public health concern. If you have a respiratory condition or a heart problem, it will be in your best interest to consult a doctor before making the trip.
These are some basic things you should know before your first visit to India. When in such a culturally diverse country, keep an open mind and an open heart! Despite the tiny hiccups you may encounter along the way, experiencing India can be a memorable and transformative adventure.