However hard you try, India is going to ruin all your travel plans. India is as much synonymous with crowds, disorder and slack, as much it is teeming with beauty, friendly people and exquisite cuisines. Not a single person has ever come back disappointed. Mark these words like the gospel and read on the list we have compiled on all the essential things you must know before you step into the largest diverse land of all times.
India, a land of diversity. Well, we have heard this too many times but to realize the magnitude of this diversity, one needs to visit the country. And it can be quite unsettling for first timers in this land. But once you have booked your tickets, let’s begin by saying this: you are going to love every moment of your time in this country and its beauty is going to mesmerise you and its people are going to stay in your mind for years to come.
That being said, here are our top ten tips to remember when visiting this diverse land for the first time:
India is also a land of disorder.
Nothing happens in India the way they should. Trains will be late, crowds will come bustling towards you, buses will be packed and so will be the streets. Making your way through these disarrays takes a bit of your time and energy, but that’s the very essence of India.
Stomachs will be upset, yet the food is irresistible!
India is a warm embrace for foodies and bloggers. From roadside stalls to 5-star restaurants, everything that is cooked in India looks delicious. But hygiene is still a couple of notches down! Therefore, medicines will be a must. It is always advisable to carry your extensive medicine kit to India than depending on local chemist shops to avoid language barrier. Yet, don’t pop antibiotics every now and then a strange bacterium upsets your body. And no! You aren’t infected by strange Indian parasites. Do not panic.
Knowing the basic words.
First thing, Hindi is not the national language of India, contrary to popular belief. But it is the most used language. Broken Hindi takes you a long way for making friends in India, as the natives hit up a smile whenever you utter something in their language. Making your way through the confusing roads, confusing foods and peopled market places, broken Hindi is the best remedy. Here are a few common words you must know:
Namaste: Greetings or Hello
Mera naam hai: My name is…
Thik hai: it is good/OK
Matlab: What do you mean?
These will get you going and the rest you will pick up really soon! Trust us.
No one leaves seats! They always get booked.
Conveyance booking is a painstaking process in India. Don’t even think about leaving it until the last moment for seats always get booked. Buses and trains to different cities always get filled for the traveling population is huge! Thus, always book tickets to different cities well ahead of time.
Plan, fail, plan better!
It would be a complete waste of time if you tried imagining what the foreign land would be like! It’s true. You can’t imagine a picturesque land despite whatever pictures come up on google. What you can do instead is plan your budget, your travel itinerary, talk to people who have been there and finally see it all fall apart for India will surprise you! But, the idea is to plan nonetheless. That way the essential trip elements like money, travel routes, accommodation will still be under your control.
There will always be detours.
Quintessential India has its beauty hidden in its alleys, the strange roads and among the people who walk past you without batting an eye. A typical day trip in India involves not just visiting famous places, but also finding warm people who would take you to places of local fame. While awareness is crucial, the happy faces carry with them a joy of showing what they feel is special and unique. This is where the heart of India lies; in its nooks, corners and just round the alley!
Markets are crazy, the shopkeepers crazier!
Brace yourself for Indian markets proudly breaks the concepts of tags, brands and MRPs! While you would be dazzled with the variety of colors you would witness in any large market, don’t get carried away by the prices they ask! The actual price of anything (literally anything that you buy) is one-fourth of what’s actually asked for. For some crazy shopping experiences, take any local person with you and blend in the milieu of bargaining, arguing and sifting through the best goods!
India is huge! And you can’t see it all at one go!
More than one-third of the area of Europe, India, after so many divisions is still a gigantic landmass with each portion, each state developing and immersed in its own culture and history.
You would be wasting your time, energy and adrenaline if you rush through everything and try to cover the entire geographical area in a month or two. Generally, people start with a major chunk of the landmass, for instance, traveling across the Himalayan range, or traveling through to witness the architectural grandeur the land has to offer and go deep down to the south.
Each such travel plan would take up a good three weeks. Thus, rushing is never an option if you want the country to absorb you.
And it will! This brings us to one crucial aspect.
Choose your trip type and plan accordingly.
The country will spoil you with choices. It has everything you could ask for. Razor-sharp rocks, weather extremes, religious spaces, ice-capped mountains, ancient temples, mesmerizing beaches, extremely rich wildlife, the Mughal architectural magic, and the classic Golden trio: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Travelers of all genres will get overwhelmed here if they choose and plan wisely. Choose your trip type and talk to experienced travelers for research is the key!
Safety, friendships and bonding.
Not one person has returned from the land without getting affected by it both in good ways and bad. The staggering wealth divide in India has become a heart-wrenching spectacle today.
Moreover, women travelers, be prepared to be ogled at, more so blankly than with lecherous eyes. Yet, always remain firm and the key is to not be afraid!
Another key to traveling to the heart of India is befriending the locals. They would guide you through all the obstacles, for in their heart they are warm and shy.
India and its billion people will surely take you on a ride and leave a deep imprint on your traveling soul. Or it might wear you out as the honking buses and sweltering crowds blow past you as they wait for no one. Still, India will inspire and enlighten you, and we daresay, you would get lost in time and would prefer staying that way down there! Good luck, folks!
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