In recent times I have noticed that we get many foreign visitors to India. Some for backpacking some on business trips or on student exchange programs. Even being an Indian, I have been into cultural shock many times when I travel to different parts of India. So I thought to summarize some of the basic good to know facts if you are planning to visit India. But as advised if in India, be open to ideas and do not generalise.
· Body Parts In India body parts have different meanings and hierarchy. Feet and left hand are considered to be dirty. So if you are visiting any religious site or even in homes, it’s always better to remove your shoes and cover your head unless asked against it. Do not eat or give/receive money with your left hand.
· Dress Modestly Even though kamasutrawas written in India, Indians have this notion that white skin people are sexually active than black/brown skin. So it’s better to dress modestly covering your body parts and not revealing specially if you are travelling to rural areas or religious sites.
· Public display of affection like kissing and hugging is strict NO-NO.
· Being hounded and cheated Unfortunately begging and touts have become business for many. Especially in major railway/bus stations, tourist and religious sites. Foreigners are generally considered cash rich, so be ready to be hounded by beggars and cheated. Know the actual rates through your friend or local acquaintances. If you feel you are being harassed or cheated approach police. (Though might be of help always)
· Be ready for stares Common people in India consider foreigners to be some sort of celebrity. So be ready for those stares on public transport, roads, or most of the places you visit. Also you be might be asked umpteen times for a photograph to be taken with common people.
Above stated information shouldn’t deter you from visiting India, because it is one of the countries where you will also be overwhelmed by the hospitality and your sense being tested for different kind of views, smell and taste.