India. It’s the Marmite of travelling. Some will return time after time while others will find it doesn’t quite float their holiday boat. But if you are after a big adventure, a cultural and spiritual wake up call, and an explosion of colour and scent, then India is the destination for you. Follow our top India travel tips and enjoy your trip…
1. Relax Travelling in India can be frustrating at times. The one thing that makes it harder is to get stressed out! Some things in India will make no sense. Just take a deep breath, shrug and smile.
2. Eat with your right hand. The left hand is considered dirty in India.
3. Keep your feet covered. The one part of the body considered dirtier than the left hand is the soles of your feet. As such, ‘revealing’ the bottom of your feet to people is considered very rude. This also applies when visiting a holy site – of which there are thousands in India. Do not sit with the soles of your feet facing the temple, as I did in Amritsar, prompting much anger from a local Sikh pilgrim sitting beside me.
4. Travel by train. A train journey in India is a must-do addition to any trip. One of my favourite memories of India is of being woken up early into a 12-hour train journey by three overly-curious local children, who proceeded to use my bunk as the local crèche for the duration of the journey.
5. Wet Wipes. Trust me; they will be the best thing you pack.
6. Learn something about Indian Cricket before you go. It is a religion, and knowing a little about it will make you many friends, particularly with taxi/rickshaw drivers. An easy place to start is the recently retired Sachin Tendulkar – ‘The Little Master’. Without exaggeration, he is as important an Indian figure as Gandhi, Amitab Bachchan or Ganesh! An example of the devotion to Tendulkar throughout India comes from a famous tale of an Australian cricket journalist: “We were on a train from Shimla to Delhi which made an un-scheduled stop at a station in the middle of nowhere. Sachin was nearing a century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century before the train could start moving again. The Little Master can stop time in India!”
7. Head in to any ‘Thali’ restaurant, particularly in Mumbai or Southern India. Thalis are trays with various different curries and dhals, served with chapatti, naan or puri. Some of the thalis I had have been the best meals I have ever eaten. In Southern India, particularly Kerala, the Thali tray is often just a large banana leaf. (Don’t forget to use your right hand!)
8. Upgrade your hotel here and there. You get so much for your money in India, and a ‘splurge’ in certain places can give you a memorable experience.
9. Read an India-related book before you go, purely to raise your excitement levels. Popular books amongst travellers to India include Shantaram, The God of Small Things, The White Tiger, Life of Pi, and Gandhi – My Experiments with Truth.
10. For help with tip number one when travelling in India, remember ‘The Three Ts’: Things. Take. Time.
Are you ready to discover India’s culture and adventure? With Rickshaw you can choose from 34 different bite-size trips and create your very own India itinerary. Our travel experts will ensure you’ll experience the best of what India has to offer!